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THE INDIAN YEAR BOOK 
OF EDUCATION 
1964 


SECOND YEAR BOOK 


Elementary Education 



N»l»oiiul Count d of Education a l Rtsc-urdi and Training 




ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 



THE INDIAN YEAR BOOK 
OF EDUCATION 
1964 


SECOND YEAR BOOK 


Elementary Education 



PREPARED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION 

OF 

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH 
AND TRAINING 
NEW DELHI 



Distributed by 

PUBLICATION UNIT, NATION filCTiti^jggiMWWKTIONAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING 

114, Sunder Nagar, New Delhi-11 (india) 


© NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH 
AND TRAINING 1964 


No part of this Year Book may be reproduced in any form 
without written permission from the Secretary of the Council. 


First Published 1964 — 5,000 Copies 


Price : Rs . 25/* 


The views expressed in this Year Book are the personal views of the 
contributors. They do not reflect the policies , either of the Ministry of 
Education , or of the National Council of Educational Research and Training. 


PRINTED BY SHRI S. N. GUHA RAY AT SREE SARASWATY PRESS 
LIMITED, 32, ACHARYA PRAFULLA CHANDRA ROAD, CALCUTTA-Q 


Members of the Governing Body 
of the 

National Council of Educational Research and Training 

SHRI M. C. CHAGLA 

Union Minister for Education , New Delhi 

SHRI PREM KIRPAL 

Educational Adviser and Secretary to the Government of India , 

Ministry of Education , New Delhi 

DR. D. S. KOTHARI 

Chairman , University Grants Commission , New Delhi 

DR. C. D. DESHMUKH 

Vice-Chancellor , Delhi University, Delhi 

SHRI R. P. PADHI 

Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, New Delhi 

PROF. V. K. N . MENON 
Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi 

SHRI RAJA ROY SINGH 

Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Education, New Delhi 

SHRI J. P. NAIK 

Adviser , Primary Education, Ministry of Education, New Delhi 

PROF. M. M. B E G G 

Principal , Delhi College , Delhi 

PROF. R. K. DASGUPTA 

Head of the Department of Modern Indian Languages, Delhi University, Delhi 

MRS. P. N. JUNGALWALLA 

Principal , Janki Devi Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi 

SHRI P. N. NATU 

Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi 



Advisory Board for the Second Year Book 

SHRI P. N. KIRPAL 

Educational Adviser and Secretary to the Government of India , 
Ministry of Education, New Delhi 

SHRI T. S. AVINASHILINGAM CHETTIAR 

Shri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya , Perianaickenpalayam , Coimbatore 

SHRI D. C. PAVATE 

Vice-Chancellor, Karnatak University, Dharwar 

SHRI RAJA ROY SINGH 

Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Education , New Delhi 

DR. D. M. SEN 

Secretary to the Government of West Bengal, Education Department, Calcutta 

SHRI VISHNU DUTT SHARMA 

Education Secretary, Government of Rajasthan, Jaipur 

SHRI N. D. SUNDARAVADIVELU 
Director of Public Instruction, Madras 

DR. N. RAMLAL 

Retired Director of Public Instruction, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad 

DR. C. M. B H A T I A 

Office of the Director of Education, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad 

SHRI L. R. DESAI 

Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad 

SHRI J. P. N A I K 

Adviser, Primary Education, Ministry of Education, New Delhi 

SHRI V. S. MATH UR 

Principal, Government Post-Graduate Basic Training College, Patiala 

EDITORS 


SHRI RAJA ROY SINGH 


SHRI J. P. NAIK 


PREFACE 


The National Council of Educational Research and Training 
publishes the Indian Year Books of Education, of which the present 
book is second in the series. The First Year Book of Education 
was a review of educational developments in India in the post- 
independence period (1947-61). The present Year Book is devoted 
to an examination of the problems of elementary education in India. 

One of the important objectives of the national educational 
policy is to provide free and compulsory education to all children 
in the age-group 6-14. The goal is drawing nearer realization with 
the completion of each Five-Year Plan. Expansion of educational 
facilities is taking place on a scale never known before, and with this 
the problems are also growing in range and complexity. It is 
hoped that the statements of the issues set out in this book and the 
data that are presented will be found helpful to students of Indian 
Education as much as to those who have a general interest in a study 
of these problems. 



Table of Contents 


PAGE 

MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNING BODY . V 

ADVISORY BOARD FOR THE SECOND YEAR BOOK . . vi 

PREFACE VU 

SECTION ONE 

Elementary Education in India 

CHAPTER I. A PERIOD OF EXPANSION (1800-1921) 5 

SHRI V. P. KHANOLKAR 

Director , Indian Institute of Education , Bombay 

Early Beginnings ; Indigenous Elementary Education at 
the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century ; Official 
Policy Towards Indigenous Elementary Education ; The 
First Steps (1813-59) ; The First Period of Rapid Expan- 
sion (1859-81) ; The Indian Education Commission and 
After (1881-1901) ; The Second Period of Rapid Expan- 
sion (1901-21) ; Qualitative Improvement of Elementary 
Education (1813-1921). 


CHAPTER %. TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 

(l921-6l) 21 


SHRI S. C. RAJKHOWA 

Director of Public Instruction, Government of 
Assam, Shillong 

Elementary Education under Dyarchy (1921-37) ; Expan- 
sion of Elementary Education ; Transfer of Control to 
Local Boards ; Elementary Education under Provincial 
Autonomy (1937-47) ; Elementary Education in the 
post-Independence Period (1946-61) ; Constitutional 
Frovision for Elementary Education ; Expansion of Ele- 
mentary Education ; Compulsory Education (1918-61) ; 
Early Beginnings (1838-1910) ; Efforts of Gokhale 
(1910-12) ; The Patel Act of 1918 ; Later Developments 
(1930-61) ; Enforcement of Compulsory Education 
Laws. 



X 


PAGE 

CHAPTER 3. OBJECTIVES, CURRICULA AND METHODS OF TEACHING 

(1800-1937) 41 

SHRI J. P. N AIK 

Adviser ( Primary Education ), Ministry of Education , 

New Delhi 

Early Vernacular Schools ; Birth of the Lower Elemen- 
tary School ; Birth of Higher Elementary School ; Ele- 
mentary School Curricula in 1881-82 and 1902-07 ; The 
Experiment of Rural Schools; Teaching Methods. 


CHAPTER 4. BIRTH AND GROWTH OF BASIC EDUCATION (1937-61) . 58 

SHRI T. S. AVINASHILINGAM 
CHETTI AR 

Shri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore 

Origin ; Philosophy ; Growth ; Development ; Self- 
supporting Aspect ; Clarification of the Concept ; 
Orientation Programme ; Causes for Slow Progress ; 

The Task Ahead. 


CHAPTER 5. TWO CASE STUDIES: BARODA AND KERALA . . . 

B A RO D A 

DR. D. M. DESAI 

Reader in Educational Administration 
M.S. University , Baroda 

KERALA 

SHRI P . G. JACOB 

Evaluation Officer , Bureau of Educational Research and 
Services , Trivandrum 

Baroda — Early Developments * Legislation for Compul- 
sory Attendance ; Difficulties Experienced in the 
Enforcement of Compulsion in the Baroda State ; 
Achievements and Failures of the Baroda Experiment 
in Compulsory Education. Kerala — General Back- 
ground ; Provision of Schools ; Enrolment in Elemen- 
tary Schools ; Teachers ; Expenditure ; Ancillary 
Services ; Compulsory Education ; Reasons for and 
Implications of the Advance of Elementary Education 
in Kerala, 


xi 


SECTION TWO 
Some Problems of Expansion 


PAGE 


CHAPTER 6. UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 

DR. B. B. SAM ANT 

Formerly Special Officer -In-char ge , Educational Survey of 
India , Ministry of Education , New Delhi 

The Educational Survey of India (1957) ; Identification 
and Enumeration of Habitations ; Existing Educational 
Facilities (Primary Stage), Proposed Educational Facili- 
ties at the Primary Stage and Proposed Middle Schools ; 
Implementation of the Survey ; The Problem of Small 
Habitations. 


CHAPTER 7 UNIVERSALITY OF ENROLMENT 

SHRI BHAGWAN PRASAD 
Deputy Director of Education , Government of Bihar , Patna 

Mass Literacy Campaigns ; Enrolment Drives ; The 
Initial Cohort; Causes of Heterogeneity of the Initial 
Cohort in India ; Enrolment of Children in the Age- 
group 6-14. 

CHAPTER 8. STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 

SHRI VEDA PRAKASHA 

Deputy Director , Regional Centre for the Training of 
Educational Planners , Administrators and Supervisors in Asia , 
New Delhi 

Wastage ; What is Wastage? Extent of Wastage ; Causes 
of Wastage ; Stagnation ; Extent of Stagnation ; Causes 
of Stagnation ; Lapse into Illiteracy ; A Programme of 
Action ; Wastage vs Expansion ; Programme for the 
Reduction of Wastage ; The First Year Class. 

CHAPTER g. EDUCATION OF GIRLS 

KUMARI S. RAJAN 
Assistant Educational Adviser, Ministry of Education, 
New Delhi 

Significance of the Problem ; Historical Factors ; Un- 
equal Level of Development ; Factors Impeding Pro- 
gress ; Programme of Action ; Inducements ; School 
Facilities ; Allowances to Teachers ; Curricula and 
Textbooks ; Less Advanced States ; The Role of the 
Centre ; A Challenge and an Opportunity. 



XII 


XIII 


CHAPTER 


CHAPTER 


CHAPTER 


PAGE 

10. EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 173 

SHRI L . M. SRIKANT 

Retired Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled 
Tribes, New Delhi 

The Scheduled. Castes ; Government Schools are Thrown 
Open to the Scheduled Castes (1856) ; Developments 
Between 1858 and 1921 ; Developments Between 1821 
and 1961 ; The Scheduled Tribes ; Early Beginnings ; 

The Indian Education Commission and After; The 
Post-Independence Period ; Recommendations of the 
Dhebar Commission ; Compulsory Education ; Denoti- 
fied Tribes ; Nomadic Tribes ; General. 

11. OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION .... 195 

PART TIME EDUCATION 
SHRI S. N. SARAF 

Assistant Chief, Education Division, Planning Commission, 

New Delhi 

EDUCATION OF THE HANDICAPPED 
SHRI L AL AD VANI 

Assistant Education Officer , Ministry of Education, 

New Delhi 

Part-time Education— The Misrod Study ; The Need for 
Part-time Education ; Organisation ; Finances ; Pro- 
gramme in the Third Five-Year Plan ; Education of the 
Handicapped ; Size of the Problem ; Historical Develop- 
ment ; Teacher Training ; Special Experiment ; Diffi- 
culties of Expansion ; A Suggested Programme. 

SECTION THREE 

Some Problems of Qualitative Improvement 

12. ELEMENTARY TEACHERS IN INDIA — A HISTORICAL 

SURVEY (1800-1961) 2 ig 

SHRI J. P. NAIK 

Adviser ( Primary Education ), Ministry of Education , 

New Delhi 

Teachers in the Indigenous Elementary Schools ; Ele- 
mentary Teachers in the Modern System of Education 
(Prior to 1855); Elementary Teachers (1855-81) ; Ele- 


PAGE 

mentary Teachers (1881-1901) ; Elementary Teachers 
(1901-21) ; Elementary Teachers (1921-47) ; Elementary 
Teachers (1947-61) ; General Conclusions. 

CHAPTER 13. GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF ELEMENTARY 

TEACHERS 2 38 

SHRI A. C. DEVE GOWDA 

Formerly Director of Public Instruction, Mysore 

General Education ; Training of Teachers ; Profes- 
sional Training ; Some Deficiencies ; Clearing the Back- 
log of Untrained Teachers ; Expansion of Training 
Facilities ; Improvement in Lands, Buildings and Equip- 
ment ; Types of Courses and their Duration ; Sylabi ; 

Methods of Teaching ; Examinations ; Supervision of 
Training Institutions ; Improvement of Staff ; Finance, 
In-service Training ; Wanted — A Special Organization. 

CHAPTER 14. REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS OF 

ELEMENTARY TEACHERS 277 

SHRI D. I. LALL 

Secretary, Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi 
SHRI V. R. RAMACHANDRAN 
Deputy Director of Education , Government of 
Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad 

Factors Impeding Progress ; Some General Conditions ; 

Pupil Teacher Ratio ; Existing Scales of Pay ; A 
National Scale ; The Three Categories ; Remuneration ; 

Old-Age Provision ; Promotion to Higher Cadres ; 

Other Programmes ; Service Conditions ; Innate Com- 
petence ; Social Status. 

CHAPTER 15. BASIC EDUCATION: RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT , . 306 

DR. SALAMATULLAH 

Principal, Teachers Training College, Jamia Millia Islamia , 

New Delhi 

Conceptional Frame-work of Basic Education ; Present 
Position ; Quantitative Expansion ; Qualitative Im- 
provement ; Problems and Difficulties ; Financial Pro- 
vision ; Teaching Personnel ; Community's Attitude ; 

Role of Administration ; State of Research ; Future 
Programme of Action ; Improvement of Basic Schools ; 
Expansion of Basic Schools ; Orientation Programme ; 
Curriculum ; Technique of Correlation ; Coordina- 
tion ; Supervision ; Teacher Educational Research. 



XIV 


XV 


PAGE 

CHAPTER l 6 . IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES IN ELEMENTARY 

SCHOOLS 337 

SHRI S . S. DUDANI 

Technical Assistant , Ministry of Education , New Delhi 

School Buildings ; Finances Required for the Pro- 
gramme of School Buildings ; Raising Necessary Funds ; 

Loans ; Local Contributions and Donations ; Non- 
lapsable Fund ; Machinery for Construction and Main- 
tenance of School Buildings ; Reduction in the Cost of 
Buildings ; Quarters for Teachers ; Equipment ; A Pro- 
gramme for Action. 

CHAPTER 17 . SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 353 

SHRI J. A. VAKIL 

Deputy Director of Education , Government of Maharashtra , 

Poona 

Developments between 1881 and 1917 ; Developments 
between 1917 and 1947 ; Post-Independence Period ; 

Major Problems ; Bombay Study ; General Educational 
and Professional Training ; Service Conditions ; Inter- 
state Contacts and Studies ; Problems of Research ; An 
Alternative System ; General Conclusions. 

CHAPTER 18 . ANCILLARY SERVICES 37^ 

SHRI J. P. N A I K 

Adviser ( Primary Education), Ministry of Education, 

New Delhi 

Health Services ; School Meals ; Textbooks and Writing 
Materials ; School Uniforms. 

CHAPTER IQ. SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 39° 

DR. G. C. CHAURASIA 

Principal , Regional College of Education , Mysore 

An Old Tradition ; Recent Prejudices ; Examples from 
Other Countries ; The Main Problems ; Reducing the 
Number of Single- teacher Schools ; The Rajasthan 
Study ; Pedagogical Problems ; Reduction in the 
Number of Classes ; Plural-class Teaching ; Monitorial 
System ; Self-instruction ; Syllabus ; Administrative 
Problems ; General Conclusions. 


PAGE 

CHAPTER SO. RESEARCH IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 4H 

SHRI J. P. NAIK 

Adviser (Primary Education ), Ministry of Education , 

New Delhi 

The Problem of Small Villages or Habitations ; Pro- 
blems of Enrolment ; Studies of Non-attending 
Children ; Absenteeism ; Wastage and Stagnation ; Part- 
time Education ; Special Groups ; Handicapped 
Children ; Teachers ; Curricula, Teaching Methods, 
Textbooks and Reading Materials ; Physical Facilities 
and Ancillary Services ; Administration, Supervision 
and Finance ; General Conclusions. 

SECTION FOUR 

Administration and Finance 

CHAPTER 21 . THE ROLE OF THE CENTRAL, STATE AND LOCAL 

GOVERNMENTS AND VOLUNTARY AGENCIES .... 433 

SHRI J. P. NAIK 

Adviser (Primary Education ), Ministry of Education , 

New Delhi 

The Role of the Government of India ; The Role of 
the State Governments ; Role of Local Bodies ; A Funda- 
mental Issue ; Levels of Delegation ; Safeguards and Re- 
servation ; Role of Voluntary Agencies. 


CHAPTER 22. DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALISATION 45* 

SHRI J. S. MEHTA 

Director, Primary and Secondary Education, 

Government of Rajasthan, Bikaner 

The Balwantrai Mehta Committee ; The Present Posi- 
tion ; Existing Patterns of Decentralisation ; Rajasthan ; 
Andhra Pradesh ; Maharashtra ; Gujarat ; Orissa ; 

Madras ; Uttar Pradesh ; Some Important Issues ; Sepa- 
rate Committee for Education ; Elementary Education 
Fund ; District Level Functions ; Functions at the Block 
Level ; Inspectorate ; Grant-in-aid. 



XVI 


PAGE 


CHAPTER FINANCING OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 

DR. ATMANAND MISRA 
Principal , Regional College of Education , Bhopal 

Deficiencies of Existing Statistics ; Total Direct Expen- 
diture on Elementary Schools and Training Schools ; 
Total Recurring Expenditure on Elementary Educa- 
tion ; Total Expenditure on Elementary Educa- 
tion in the Different States ; Priority for Elementary 
Education ; Expenditure According to Sources ; Total 
Direct Expenditure on Primary Schools ; Total Direct 
Expenditure on Middle Schools ; Total Direct Expendi- 
ture on Training Schools ; Expenditure by Objects ; 
Grant-in-aid ; Types of Grants ; Central Grants ; 
Grants-in-aid from State Governments to Local Bodies ; 
Grant-in-aid to Municipalities ; Grant-in-aid to Local 
Bodies in Rural Areas ; Grant-in-aid to Voluntary 
Organizations. 


CHAPTER 2 4. LEGISLATION FOR COMPULSORY EDUCATION .... 513 

SHRI N. B. RANGNEKAR 
Assistant Director , Local Self Government Institute , Bombay 

Gokhale’s Bill for Elementary Education (1911) ; The 
Patel Act of 1918-20 ; Children under Compulsion ; 
Age-Period of Compulsion ; Procedure for Introducing 
Compulsory Education ; Education Cess ; Grant-in-aid 
from the Provincial Governments ; Compulsory Educa- 
tion Laws (1921-47) ; Compulsory Education in Practice 
(1918-47) ; Compulsory Education Laws and their 
Enforcement (1950-61) ; Grant-in-aid to Local Bodies ; 
Procedure for Enforcement of Compulsory Attendance. 

CHAPTER 55. ENFORCEMENT OF COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE . . . 536 

DR. J. N. MATHUR 

Senior School Inspector , Delhi Municipal Corporation , Delhi 

Introducing Compulsory Education in a Given Area ; 
Constitution of Attendance Authorities ; Preparing 
Lists of Children of School-going Age ; Notice to 
Parents ; Reasonable Excuse for Non-Attendance ; 
Attendance Orders ; Attendance Requirements ; Prose- 
cutions ; Courts to Try Cases ; Penalties ; Part-time 
Education ; Educative Aspects of Compulsory Education 
Laws. 


xvii 

SECTION FIVE 
A Look to the Future 

PAGE 

CHAPTER 56. A PERSPECTIVE PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF 

ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 565 

SHRI J. P. N A I K 

Adviser ( Primary Education ), Ministry of Education , 

New Delhi 

Magnitude of the Task ; Decision on Targets ; Educa- 
tion of Girls ; Expansion in Backward States ; Expan- 
sion Among Poorer and More Backward Sections of 
Society ; Expansion in Classes VI-VII or in the age- 
group 11-14; Qualitative Improvement; Fulfilling the 
Directive of Article 45 of the Constitution by 1971, 

1985, 1980, 1975. Phases of the Programme ; Univer- 
sality of Provision of Enrolment and Retention ; The 
Problem of Teachers ; General Education ; Professional 
Training ; Remuneration and Other Service Condi- 
tions ; Pupil-Teacher Ratio ; Number of Teachers 
Required ; Expansion of Training Facilities ; Buildings 
and Equipment ; Ancillary Services ; Improving Super- 
vision ; Financial Implications ; Teacher Costs ; Non- 
Teacher Costs ; Teacher Training ; Supervision ; Capital 
Costs ; Estimate of Funds Required ; The Need-Based 
Approach ; Recurring Cost ; Non-Recurring Cost ; The 
Resource-Based Approach ; Funds likely to be Obtained 
for Elementary Education ; Cost per Pupil ; Pupil- 
Teacher Ratio and Non-Teacher Costs ; Main Issues 
for Decision ; Some Important Administrative Pro- 
blems ; Preparation of State Plans ; Equalization of 
Educational Opportunities at the State Level ; Role of 
the Central and State Governments and Local Bodies ; 
Legislation. 

Statistical Tables 619 

1. Growth of Population in India (1901-61) 

5. Area and Population of India (1961) 

3a. Progress of Primary Education in India (1855-56 to 1960-61) 

3b. Progress of Middle School Education in India (1870-71 to 1960-61) 

3c. Progress of Elementary Education in India (1870-71 to 1960-61) 

4a. Primary Schools in India according to Managements (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

4b. Middle Schools in India according to Managements (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

4 C- Elementary Schools in India according to Managements (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

5a. Primary Schools according to Managements (State- wise) 1960-61 



xviii 


xix 


PAGE 

rib. Middle Schools according to Managements (State-wise) 1960-61 

rc." Elementary Schools according to Managements (State-wise) 1960-61 

6a. Enrolment in Primary Schools according to Managements (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

6b. Enrolment in Middle Schools according to Managements (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

6c. Enrolment in Elementary Schools according to Managements (1901-02 to 1960-61) 
ya. Enrolment in Primary Schools by States and Managements (1960-61) 

7b. Enrolment in Middle Schools by States and Managements (1960-61) 

7c. Enrolment in Elementary Schools by States and Managements (1960-61) 

8. Enrolment at the Elementary Stage according to Classes (1911-12 to 1960-61) 
q*. Enrolment at the Elementary Stage according to Classes (State-wise) 1960-61 
10. Proportion of Enrolment at Elementary Stage to Total Population (1960-61) 

lla. Enrolment in Classes I-V according to Ages (1911-12 to 1960-61) 

llb. Enrolment in Classes VI-VIII according to Ages (1911-12 to 1960-61) 

llc. Enrolment in Classes I-VIII according to Ages (1911-12 to 1960-61) 

12a. Enrolment in Classes I-V according to Ages and States (1960-61) 

12b. Enrolment in Classes VI-VIII according to Ages and States (1960-61) 

12c. Enrolment in Classes I-VIII according to Ages and States (1960-61) 

13a. Teachers in Primary Schools according to General Education Qualifications 
(1949-50 to 1960-61) 

13b. Teachers in Middle Schools according to General Education Qualifications 
(1949-50 to 1960-61) 

13c. Teachers in Elementary Schools according to General Education Qualifications 
(1949-50 to 1960-61) 

14a. Teachers in Primary Schools according to General Education Qualifications and 
States (1960-61) 

14b. Teachers in Middle Schools according to General Education Qualifications and 
States (1960-61) 

14c. Teachers in Elementary Schools according to General Education Qualifications 
and States (1960-61) 

15a. Teachers according to Training in Primary Schools (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

15b. Teachers according to Training in Middle Schools (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

15c. Teachers according to Training in Elementary Schools (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

16a. Number of Teachers in Primary Schools in States (1960-61) 

16b. Number of Teachers in Middle Schools in States (1960-61) 

16c. Number of Teachers in Elementary Schools in States (1960-61) 

17. Remuneration of Teachers in Elementary Schools (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

18a. Remuneration of Teachers in Primary Schools in States 
18b. Remuneration of Teachers in Middle Schools in States 
18c. Remuneration of Teachers in Elementary Schools in States 

19a. Total Direct Expenditure on Primary Education according to Sources (1901-02 
to 1960-61) 

19b. Total Direct Expendiure on Middle School Education according to sources 
(1901-02 to 1960-61) 

19c. Total Direct Expenditure on Elementary Education according to Sources (1901-02 
to 1960-61) 

20a, Total Direct Expenditure on Primary Education according to Sources and States 
(1960-61) 


PAGE 

20b. Total Direct Expenditure on Middle Education according to Sources and States 
(1960-61) 

20c. Total Direct Expenditure on Elementary Education according to Sources and 
States (1960-61) 

21a. Progress of Girls’ Education at the Primary Stage (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

21b. Progress of Girls’ Education at the Middle Stage (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

21c. Progress of Girls’ Education at the Elementary Stage (1901-02 to 1960-61) 

22a. Progress of Girls’ Education at the Primary Stage in States (1960-61) 

22b. Progress of Girls’ Education at the Middle School Stage in States (1960-61) 

22c. Progress of Girls’ Education at the Elementary Stage in States (1960-61) 

23a. Progress of Compulsory Primary Education (1949-50 to 1960-61) 

23b. Progress of Compulsory Primary Education in States (1960-61) 


INDEX 731 

INFORMATION CONCERNING THE COUNCIL 751 



SECTION ONE 


Elementary Education in India 



CHAPTER 1 


A Period of Expansion ( 1800-1921 ) 

Early Beginnings : The concept of universal education, of 
providing a minimum standard of education to every boy and girl, 
is, in India, as old as the first beginnings of her civilization. In 
the educational system evolved by the Vedic Aryans, a fairly long 
period of education was prescribed for all children, not on the basis 
of any State legislation— the concept of the State itself did not then 
exist — but through the more imperative form of a religious practice. 
The education of boys and girls began with the U panayana* cere- 
mony which was peformed by about the eighth year and which intro- 
duced them into the home of the preceptor or the guru. Here they 
spent a long period of apprenticeship, living a life of simplicity and 
hard work and pursuing their studies. The curriculum included, 
not only the study of religious texts, but also all branches of culture 
and knowledge as they were then unknown. The period of study 
usually lasted till the age of 16, and not infrequently, till the age 
of 24, when the student got married and became a grahastha. In 
modern terms, this educational system amounted to a period of at 
least eight years of compulsory schooling for every child. That it 
was universal amongst the Aryans is certain ; but to what extent 
this or a similar system prevailed among the non-Aryan people of 
the country is not known. 

Unfortunately, this system of education disappeared almost 
completely in the social changes that took place in later years. 
Women lost their social status, especially after the entry of the non- 
Aryan wife in the Aryan household. They were first denied the right 
to study the sacred texts. Later on, the U panayana ceremony came 
to be prescribed for boys only ; and ultimately, the right to all 
education was denied to women. The system of child-marriage, 
W ich soon crept in, made the education of girls virtually impossible. 


punii ;i ? 7u near; l Dayana = carrying. U panayana, therefore, means 
the race ^ her ° r guru and throu S h him, to all the culture and 


carrying the 
knowledge of 



6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


7 


As the caste system became more and more rigid, its operation 
restricted educational opportunities even among men. The vast 
bulk of the population consisted of the Shudras (the fourth caste) 
and the Antyajas (the untouchable or the lowest caste), and they 
generally came to be denied all access to education. Even among 
the superior castes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, higher 
learning came gradually to be restricted to Brahmins only and the 
Kshatriyas and Vaishyas ordinarily received an elementary general 
education and professional training needed for their lives. In fact, 
the seeds of the subsequent stagnation of the Indian society can be 
traced to this rigid stratification of the social order in which access 
to education was determined by birth and restricted to a small class 
of men. 

Towards the end of the ancient period, the Hindu system of 
education developed two main types of schools. The Tol or 
Pathshala was the Hindu school of higher learning. It imparted 
instruction through Sanskrit and provided a curriculum which 
covered all sectors of traditional classical learning. The teachers 
tVere Brahmins, respected for their piety and learning, and generally 
enjoyed the rulers’ patronage. The pupils also were Brahmins. 
They received free education and maintained themselves through 
stipends or scholarships given by kings or rich persons or through 
private charity. In addition to these institutions of higher learning, 
there also grew up a large network of elementary schools which 
provided instruction in the three R’s to the children, mostly boys, 
of the upper castes and the richer landlords and agriculturists. 
Their teachers were persons of humble learning and generally 
maintained themselves through small gifts of cash and kind which 
were given by the parents of those children who attended their 
schools. 

With the advent of the Muslim period, another system of 
education was imported in the country, viz., Muslim education. Like 
the Hindus, the Muslims also had two types of institutions. The 
Maktab, which corresponded to the Hindu elementary school, was 
generally attached to the mosques and functioned with the primary 
objective of teaching boys and girls to read and write, and parti- 
cularly to read, the Holy Koran. The Madrassah, which corres- 
ponded to the Hindu T ol or Pathshala, was an institution of higher 


learning which prepared a highly selective group of men for the 
professions: priests, judges, doctors, etc. There was no system of 
child-marriage among Muslims ; but the custom of purdah prevented 
the spread of education amongst women. 

Indigenous Elementary Education at the Beginning of the 
nineteenth Century . Both the Hindu and the Muslim systems of 
elementary education existed side by side throughout the middle 
ages ; and, in spite of the decay caused by the unsettled conditions 
which prevailed in the country in the seventeenth and the eighteenth 
centuries, were still fairly vigorous at the opening of the nineteenth 
century when the foundations of the modern educational system in 
India were laid by the British administrators. Authentic and 
extensive data on this subject are available in the reports of the 
enquiries made by Sir Thomas Munro in Madras (1822-24), Mount- 
Stuart Elphinstone in Bombay (1823-25), William Adam in Bengal 
and Bihar (1835-38), and in the Punjab (1849). A careful analysis 
of these documents shows that the elementary schools of this period 
were of two main types — elementary schools proper which were 
conducted by teachers as a profession and ‘centres of domestic 
instruction where arrangements were made for the education of 
children of the well-to-do families with or without the participation 
of some of the neighbouring families. Irrespective of their religious 
affiliation, all elementary schools had certain common features. 
They mainly catered to the needs of such classes as priests, zamindars, 
banias, money-lenders and well-to-do farmers. Unlike the schools 
of higher learning, they were not exclusively religious in character 
nor did they receive any endowments from the state or the public. 

he teachers were as humble as their attainments were modest and 
very often, they knew as much as they taught in their schools. Their 
remuneration was very small and consisted of regular payments and 
occasional presents, both in cash and in kind, which rarely amounted 
to more than Rs. 3 to 5 P er month. 1 he training of teachers was 
■unknown and the more successful of them owed their skill either to 
natural gifts, or to the influence of a good teacher under whom they 
had studied in their childhood, or to family tradition. The schools 
gave instruction of a very practical type which was mostly limited 
to the three R’s, subject to the addition that, in Muslim schools, 
the reading of the Holy Koran formed an important subject of the 



8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


9 


curriculum. They had no buildings of their own and were held, 
sometimes in a mosque or a temple or some such public building, 
often in the houses of the teachers themselves or of their patrons, 
and not infrequently, under a tree. There were no printed books, 
nor was any paper used, the writing being mostly done on wooden 
slates with dust or sandpasting. The methods of instruction were 
often crude and the punishments harsh ; but their great redeeming 
features were individual attention, cordial relations between teachers 
and pupils, and elasticity of organization. The amount of fees, the 
times of payment, their break-up in cash or kind, were all adjusted 
to the purse of the parents. The hours of instruction and days of 
working were equally adjusted to local conditions and needs of the 
pupils. There were no classes, no regular periods of admission, 
and no examinations at prescribed intervals. A pupil joined the 
school at any time, became a class by himself, followed his own pace 
of study and left the school when he had acquired all that he desired 
to know or the school had to teach. But the most distinctive feature 
of these schools was the monitorial system of education which was 
current in several schools, particularly the Hindu elementary 
schools. Under this system, the senior boys were required to 
instruct the junior boys, either individually or in small groups. This 
method was noted by Dr. Bell, the Presidency Chaplain at Madras, 
who introduced it in England as a cheap and efficient method of 
educating poor children. 

These schools continued to reflect the stratification of the Indian 
society. They did not admit children from the scheduled castes. 
As for girls, the position varied from one area to another. Adam 
found that, in Bengal, hardly any girl ever learnt to read and write 
because there was a superstition that a girl who did so would soon 
become a widow. The picture was more favourable in Bombay 
where the enquiry stated that the Muslim families had a system of 
educating their daughters at home and there is evidence enough to 
believe that a similar practice also prevailed in the well-to-do Hindu 
families. In Madras, it was reported that, although learning was 
unknown to women of the Brahmins and of Hindus in general, the 
women of castes like the Rajbanda did receive some education. In 
the Punjab, not only were girls found to be attending schools, but 
there were also women teachers. In spite of these exceptions, 


however, the general picture was one of an almost total neglect of 
the education of girls. 

Some data are also available about the extent of educational 
facilities which this system provided. Munro found that in Madras, 
there was an elementary school for every one thousand of popula- 
tion and that one child in every 67 was under instruction. In 
Bombay, the picture was less bright and only one child in 113 
was reported to be at school. Adam records that there was an 
elementary school in Bengal for every 400 persons and that one child 
in every 73 was in school. There is, however, enough evidence to 
show that both these were under-estimates. Adam also counted the 
number of literates in the district of Rajshahi and found that about 
6.1 per cent of the adult male population (above 14 years of age) 
was literate. Good as these statistics are, a better idea of the 
situation is given, not by such statistics which could only be imper- 
fect, but by opinions of British officers who knew the country inti- 
mately. For example, Munro observed that the state of education 
in India, low as it is compared to that of (England), is higher than 
it was in most European countries at no distant period’. 1 Mr. G. L. 
Prendergast, a member of the Bombay Governor’s Council, wrote 
in 1821 that ‘there is hardly a village, great or small, through- 
out our territories, in which there is not at least one school and in 
the larger villages more, many in every town and in larger cities in 
every division ; where young natives are taught reading, writing 
and arithmetic, upon a system so economical, from a handful or two 
of grain to perhaps a rupee per month to the school master, ac- 
cording to the ability of the parents, and at the same time so simple 
and effectual that there is hardly a cultivator or a petty dealer who 
is not competent to keep his own accounts with a degree of ease, 
conciseness and clearness, I rather think fully equal to these and 
any British merchants’. 3 Even allowing for the element of exag- 
geration in statements of this type, there is no doubt that the system 
of elementary education for boys was fairly extensive at this period 
m all parts of the country. 

1 Selections from Educational Records of the Government of Madras , No. II, 
Appendix E. 

Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on the Affairs of the 
&ast India Company , 1833, p. 468. 



10 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


Official Policy Towards Indigenous Elementary Education : 
It would obviously have been to the best interest of the educational 
development in the country if these indigenous elementary schools 
could have been adopted as the foundation of a national system of 
education and strengthened and improved through proper guidance 
and adequate financial aid. Such was the recommendation made 
by Munro in Madras, Adam in Bengal and Thomason in the North- 
Western Province (now Uttar Pradesh). The same views were 
expressed by the Despatch of 1854 and, more emphatically, by the 
Indian Education Commission of 1882. But by and large, the 
advice was not accepted by the officers of the Education Depart- 
ments. Some of them had nothing but contempt for everything 
‘Indian’, including indigenous education ; some were of the view 
that any interference with the indigenous schools would destroy 
their good points without overcoming their deficiencies ; many had 
an exaggerated concept of elementary education — they regarded it 
as a means of spreading Western knowledge through the medium 
of the Indian languages — and had hardly any use for institutions 
which were limited to the teaching of three R’s ; and most of them 
were in love with the idea of building up empires and of establish- 
ing new schools under their direct control and supervision. Conse- 
quently, the indigenous schools languished outside the official 
system of education till they disappeared almost completely by 
about 1900. Some were killed by ill-planned attempts at reform; 
others were destroyed by competition ; but the vast majority died 
of sheer neglect. This was indeed a great national loss because the 
time and money that could have been advantageously utilized in 
improving and expanding an existing system was lost fruitlessly in 
creating a new system. It also checked the progress of elementary 
education considerably and it is a fact of history that the percentage 
of literacy among men, or the enrolment in elementary schools, 
was, on the whole, no better in 1901 than it was at the opening of 
the nineteenth century. * 

The First Steps (1813-59) : The existing system of elementary 

education did not, therefore, arise from the indigenous elementary 
schools which had developed over centuries and survived immense 
political vicissitudes. It was built up, ab initio, by the British 
administrators in about a century between 1813 when the East India 


1 1 

Company was compelled to accept responsibility for the education 
of the people and 1921 when the control of education was largely 
transferred to the Indian people themselves under the Government 
of India Act, 1919. 

The first stage of this development comes to an end in 1859. 
During this period, each province of British India evolved its own 
method of dealing with the problem. In Madras, Munro proposed 
a scheme for the preparation of teachers under which two schools 
(one for Hindus and one for Muslims) were to be established in each 
Collectorate and one school in each tahsil. But owing to his 
sudden death, the experiment could not be pursued satisfactorily 
and was soon given up. In fact, elementary education continued 
to be sadly neglected in Madras till 1868. In 1855-56, it had only 
83 departmental primary schools with 2,093 pupils. In Bombay, a 
great emphasis was placed on the training of teachers and the 
establishment of a new type of primary school whose one objective 
was to spread western knowledge through the media of Indian 
languages. These schools had ten classes and taught an ambitious 
curriculum which included the three R’s, history of England and 
India, geography, astronomy, natural sciences, algebra, Euclidean 
geometry and trigonometry. In fact, these so-called primary 
schools were almost like high schools teaching through the medium 
of the Indian languages. The number of the schools was naturally 
small ; but the teachers were well paid and the standards, high. In 
1 855-56, it had 220 departmental elementary schools with 17,669 
pupils. In Bengal, the Government concentrated its efforts mainly 
on the development of English schools and in 1854, the number of 
departmental elementary schools was only 69 with 3,279 pupils. In 
the North-Western Provinces, Thomason did the pioneer experi- 
ment of levying a cess of one-half per cent on land-revenue from the 
zamindars ; and its proceeds were utilized, along with an equal 
grant from the Government, to establish departmental elementary 
schools. The results were very encouraging and in 1854-55, there 
were 830 elementary schools with 17,000 pupils. In the Punjab 
(annexed in 1849), some progress had been made to establish depart- 
mental schools and in 1856-57, their number was stated to be 579. 
Taken all in all, therefore, this was a period of small beginnings. 
The difficulties in the way of a more rapid pace of expansion were 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


13 


12 

two-fold. First was the adoption of the downward filtration theory 
as an official policy of Government. It was believed that education 
filtered down from the upper to the lower classes of society and, 
therefore, the Education Departments were expected, not to make 
any attempt to educate the masses directly, but to concentrate their 
efforts on educating the upper classes only. Secondly, the resources 
given to the Education Departments were meagre in the extreme. 
Even in 1855, the total Government expenditure on education was 
only Rs. 999,898. As large portions of these resources had to be 
allocated to administrative expenditure and to the establishment 
of English schools and colleges, the funds available for elementary 
education were extremely limited. 

The First Period of Rapid Expansion (1859-81) : Between 

1859 and 1881, however, steps were taken to overcome these diffi- 
culties. The downward filtration theory was first repudiated by 
the Despatch of 1854 which declared that 'our attention should now 
be directed to a consideration, if possible, still more important, and 
one which has been hitherto, we are bound to admit, too much 
neglected, namely, how useful and practical knowledge, suited to 
every station of life, may be best conveyed to the great mass of the 
people, who are utterly incapable of obtaining any education 
worthy of the name by their own unaided efforts, and we desire 
to see the active measures of Government more especially directed, 
for the future, to this object, for the attainment of which we are 
ready to sanction a considerable increase of expenditure.’ The same 
policy was reiterated in the resolution appointing the Indian 
Education Commission (1882) which observed that, while it would 
be contrary to the policy of Government to check or hinder in any 
degree the future progress of high or middle education, it is essential 
that the different branches of education should move forward with 
more equal step than hitherto and that the principal object 
of the enquiry of the Commission should be 'the present state of 
elementary education throughout the empire, and the means by 
which this can everywhere be extended and improved’. 3 The Com- 
mission itself recommended that 'while every branch of education 
can justly claim the fostering care of the State, it is desirable, in the 
present circumstances of the country, to declare the elementary 

3 Report of the Indian Education Commission, 1882, p. 635. 


education of the masses, its provision, extension, and improvement, 
to be that part of the educational system to which the strenuous 
efforts of the State should now be directed in a still larger measure 
than heretofore.’ 4 With these pronouncements of policy which 
were also accepted and implemented in practice, a better deal came 
to be given to elementary education after 1859. 

The most important event of this period was the levy of local 
fund cesses, a portion of whose proceeds was generally earmarked 
for elementary education. Realizing the success of Thomason’s 
experiment in the North-Western Province, the Despatch of 1859 
suggested that the 'officers of the Department of Education should 
be relieved from the onerous and invidious task of soliciting contri- 
butions’ for the support of the elementary schools (which they were 
required to do under the system of grant-in-aid), that the ‘means of 
elementary education should be provided by the direct instru- 
mentality of the officers of Government’, and that, for the support 
of these schools, a local educational rate should be levied because 
'the appropriation of a fixed proportion of the annual value of the 
land to the purpose of providing such means of education for the 
population immediately connected with the land, seems, per se, 
unobjectionable, and the application of a percentage for the cons- 
truction and maintenance of roads appears to afford a suitable pre- 
cedent for such an impost’. 5 In accordance with these orders, local 
cesses for elementary education came to be levied in the rural areas 
in most parts of British India betwen 1861 and 1880. 

Reference has already been made to the levy of a cess in the 
North-Western Provinces. The Punjab, which was next to follow 
the example, levied a cess of one per cent of land revenue in 1856-57 
in certain areas and generalized the levy in all areas in 1864. The 
Province of Oudh imposed a cess of 2} per cent on land revenue in 
1861 and earmarked one per cent out of it for education. The 
Central Provinces followed the example of the North-Western 
Province and levied the cess at one per cent in 1862-63. Two years 
later, the cess was raised to two per cent as the amount realized 
from the one per cent cess was not adequate to meet the require- 
ments. Bombay introduced a cess of one anna on every rupee of 

4 Ibid. p. 174. 

5 Despatch of 1859, para 53. 



14 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


15 


land revenue (6| per cent) in 1863 and generalized its levy by the 
Bombay Local Funds Act of 1869. One-third of the cess was ear- 
marked for education. A similar local fund cess was imposed in 
Sind in 1865 ; but only half of it was given to all local purposes and 
the other half was retained by Government as a set-off against expen- 
diture incurred by it for local purposes such as canal clearance, 
public buildings, etc. Berar imposed a local fund cess of 7| per 
cent and earmarked one-fifth of it for education. Madras passed a 
Local Funds Act in 1871 and imposed a cess at a rate not exceeding 
one anna on land revenue but did not prescribe any definite 
proportion of it to be paid to education. A local cess was introduced 
in Assam in 1879. But in Bengal, no cess on land revenue was 
imposed even up to 1881. This was mainly due to the permanent 
revenue settlement introduced in the Province which legally pre- 
vented any addition to the taxation on land. 

As a result of all these measures, elementary education pro- 
gressed very rapidly between 1859 and 1881. In 1855, country 
had only 2,810 elementary schools (1,202 departmental, 36 aided 
and inspected and 1,572 extra-departmental) with a total enrolment 
of 96,923, excluding indigenous schools whose number was esti- 
mated at 47,886 and enrolment at 788,701 (and even these figures 
were largely under-estimated). In 1881-82, the number of primary 
schools 6 increased to 82,916 with a total enrolment of 2,061,541, while 
the number of indigenous schools declined to 25,223 with an enrol- 
ment of 358,203 only. It must also be remembered that the 
expansion in the different provinces varied considerably depending 
upon the manner in which the proceeds of the local cess were 
applied. In Bombay, the total receipts from the local cess were 
Rs. 787,132. But as these were used mainly in maintaining 
departmental schools, which were costlier, there were only 5,338 
elementary schools with an enrolment of 332,688. In Madras, the 
cess receipts were much less — Rs. 502,116. But as these were largely 
utilized in aiding private schools, which were cheaper, there were 
14,486 elementary schools with an enrolment of 360,643. 

One more point need be noted. The local fund cess on the 
land revenue was collected almost exclusively in rural areas. There 

6 In addition, there were, in 1881-83, 3,404 middle schools with an enrolment of 
146,630. 


was no corresponding levy in urban areas and the municipalities 
were only permitted to incur some expenditure on elementary 
education. Consequently, they did not exert themselves fully and 
large amounts of the cess collected in rural areas came actually to 
be spent in urban areas. 

The Indian Education Commission and After (1881-1901) : 
The Indian Education Commission gave particular emphasis to the 
development of elementary education very greatly. It made one 
radical recommendation: the responsibility, control and adminis- 

tration of elementary education should be transferred to local 

bo di es t he District Boards or Councils in rural areas and the 

Municipalities in urban areas. The recommendation was accepted 
and, for the first time, elementary education came to be a local 
responsibility. The problem of compulsory education was also 
raised before the Commission, but was ruled out as unpractical. 
However, it made several recommendations to accord priority to the 
expansion and improvement of elementary education. 

In spite of these recommendations, elementary education 
languished between 1881 and 1901. The main cause was the 
neglect to provide adequate financial support. The Commission 
naively assumed that the proceeds of the local fund cesses would 
meet most of the needs of the situation. It did visualize some 
assistance from government funds and recommended that elemen- 
tary education had ‘a large claim’ on provincial revenues and that, 
in this regard, the ‘liberality of one part of India may afford an 
example to local governments . . . elsewhere’. These vague state- 
ments, however, meant little in practice and the contribution of 
provincial revenues to the expenditure on elementary education 
remained almost stationary during this period. Consequently, 
elementary education had to depend mostly on the inelastic local 
cess (the land revenue could be revised once in thirty years or so) 
and was starved for funds. In 1901-02, therefore, there were only 
97,854 primary schools with a total enrolment of 3.2 million and 
4,323 middle schools with an enrolment of 359,909. The indigen- 
ous schools had almost totally disappeared by this time. 

One development of this period needs special notice. The 
transfer of elementary education to the control of municipalities 
compelled them to incur adequate expenditure thereon. Conse- 



i6 


E L E M E N T A RY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


*7 


quently, the rural local fund cesses were relieved of a wrongful 
financial burden, and the contributions from municipal revenues 
to the expenditure on elementary education increased substantially. 
The Commission also recommended that a minimum portion of the 
local fund cess raised in rural areas should be earmarked for 
elementary education — this was not always done in the past — so that 
even the contributions from the rural areas expanded a good deal. 
Owing to these reforms, the total financial support available 
to elementary education from local funds increased very greatly. 
But for this increase, even the little expansion shown above would 
not have been possible. 

The Second Period of Rapid Expansion (1901-1921) : It was, 

therefore, obvious that the limit of expansion had been reached 
under the system of local fund cesses adopted in 1859 and that, for 
further progress, larger assistance from provincial revenues was 
called for. This bold decision was taken by Lord Curzon who 
increased the Provincial grants to local funds. The following 
passage from the Government Resolution on Educational Policy, 
1904, thus explains the genesis of these orders: 

14. Primary education is the instruction of the masses, through the verna- 
cular, in such subjects as will best stimulate their intelligence and fit them 
for their position in life. It was found in 1854 that the consideration of 
measures to this end had been too much neglected and a considerable increase 
of expenditure on primary education was then contemplated. The Education 
Commission recommended in 1 883 , that ‘ the elementary education of the 
masses, its provision, extension and improvement should be that part of the 
educational system to which the strenuous efforts of the State should be 
directed in a still larger measure than before'. The Government of India 
fully accept the proposition that the active extension of primary education is 
one of the most important duties of the State. They undertake this respon- 
sibility, not merely on general grounds, but because, as Lord Lawrence 
observed in 1868, ‘among all the sources of difficulty in our administration, 
and of possible danger to the stability of our Government, there are few so 
serious as ignorance of the people.’ To the people themselves, moreover, the 
lack of education is now a more serious disadvantage than it was in more 
primitive days. By the extension of railways the economic side of agriculture 
in India has been greatly developed, and the cultivator has been brought into 
contact with the commercial world, and has been involved in transactions in 
which an illiterate man is at a great disadvantage. The material benefits 
attaching to education have at the same time increased with the development 
of schemes for introducing improved agricultural methods, for opening agri- 
cultural banks, for strengthening the legal position of the cultivator, and for 
generally improving the conditions of rural life. Such schemes depend largely 


for their success upon the influence of education permeating the masses and 
rendeiing them accessible to ideas cdier than those sanctioned by tradition. 

While the need for education grows with the growth of population, the 
progress towards supplying it is not now so rapid as it was in former years. 
In 1870-71, there were 16,473 schools with 607,330 scholars; in 1881-83 there 
were 83,916 with 3,061,541 scholars. But by 1891-93 these had only increased 
to 97,109 schools with 3,837,607 scholars, and the figures of 1901-03 (98,538 
schools with 3,368,726 scholars) suggest that the initial force of expansion is 
somewhat on the decline ; indeed the last year of the century showed a slight 
decrease as compared with the previous year. For purposes of exact com- 
parison some allowances have to be made for differences in the basis of the 
statistics but their broad effect is not altered by these modifications. Nor has 
the rate of growth 01 primary schools kept pace with that of secondary schools, 
in which the number of scholars has considerably more than doubled during 
the last twenty years. It may be said indeed that the expansion of primary 
schools has received a check in recent years from the calamities of famine and 
plague ; and it is further impeded by the indifference of the more advanced 
and ambitious classes to the spread of primary education. These, however, are 
minor obstacles, which would soon be swept away if the main difficulty of 
finding the requisite funds for extending primary education could be 
overcome. 

17. The expenditure upon primary education does not admit of exact state- 
ment, since the cost of the instruction given in the lower classes of secondary 
schools is not separately shown, nor is the expenditure on the administration 
and inspection of primary schools capable of separate calculation. But the 
direct outlay from public funds upon primary schools stands as follows: 



1886-87 

1891-92 

1901-02 

From Provincial Funds 

From Local and Municipal Funds . . 

16,00,239 

26,07,624 

13,43,343 

35,86,208 

16,92,514 

46,10,387 

Total 

42,07,863 

49,29,551 

63,02,901 


18. On a general view of the question the Government of India cannot avoid 
the conclusion that primary education has hitherto received insufficient atten- 
tion and an inadequate share of the public funds. They consider that it 
possesses a strong claim upon the sympathy both of the Supreme Government 
and of the local Governments, and should be made a leading charge upon 
provincial revenues ; and that in those provinces where it is in a backward 
condition, its encouragement should be a primary obligation. The Govern- 
ment of India believe that local Governments are cordially in agreement with 
them in desiring this extension, and will carry it out to the limits allowed 
by the financial conditions of each province. 7 

7 Progress of Education in India, 1897-1903, pp, 463-63. 

2 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


This policy decision implied an admission of the fact that the 
financial responsibility for elementary education had to be squarely 
placed upon government revenues, although the local bodies may 
be utilized as agencies for its administration. To that extent, it 
marked a fundamental and welcome modification of the policy laid 
down by the Indian Education Commission. 

In this period, there were a number of fortunate developments 
which increased the tempo of expansion of elementary education. 
There was the general awakening in the country due to the organi- 
zation of the struggle for freedom by the Indian National Congress. 
The First World War brought new social and economic factors into 
play. Consequently, the desire to educate their children spread 
rapidly among the parents, and school enrolments began to rise. 
Secondly, a strong demand for the introduction of compulsory 
primary education began to be put forward by the Indian people. 
This will be described in detail in the next chapter. But it may 
be mentioned here that Gokhale moved a resolution on compulsory 
education in the Central Legislature in 19 to &nd followed it up by 
the introduction of a Bill in 1911* Although the Bill was defeated, 
it focused public attention on the issue and created considerable 
pressure on Government to increase the grants-in-aid to elementary 
education. Thirdly, the Central Government sanctioned large 
grants for elementary education during this period and the Provin- 
cial Governments also followed suit. In consequence, there was 
an immense expansion of elementary education between 19 01 and 
1931. In 1921-22, the total number of primary schools rose to 
160,070 and their enrolment to 6.3 million. The total expenditure 
on elementary education also rose in proportion to Rs. 50.9 million. 8 
Significant as these achievements are in comparison with the earlier 
periods, it must be remembered that, even in 1921* the expansion 
of elementary education was far from adequate. T he total enrol- 
ment at the primary stage was only 2.6 per cent of the population 
(as against the desirable target of 20 per cent) ; a vast majority of 
villages were still unprovided with schools ; the enrolment of girls 
or of the children from the backward classes was still extremely 
meagre; and in spite of all that was done since 1813, the overall 

s There were, in addition, 6,739 middle schools with an enrolment o£ 644,614 
and an expenditure of Rs. 16.6 million. 


A PERIOD OF EXPANSION 


19 


percentage of literacy was only 7.2. It showed an increase of only 
1 4 per cent over that of 1891 (when the first literacy statistics for the 
country became available) ; nor did it show any impressive progress 
in comparison with the estimate of 3 per cent literacy at the opening 
of the nineteenth century. 

Qualitative Improvement of Elementary Education (1813-1921): 
The main achievement of this century of educational activity, 
therefore, is not expansion. It is rather to be sought in the quality 
and character of the education that was imparted in the new 
elementary schools. 

First, the indigenous schools were either individual or commu- 
nity institutions unconnected with and unsupported by the state. The 
new elementary schools which were now created lost the vitalizing 
and intimate connection with the local community which the indi- 
genous schools had. But they cut new ground in making elementary 
education a responsibility of the state (which may be administered 
direct or through local bodies) and securing to it, tax support at 
the local, provincial and central levels. Secondly, the teachers of 
the new schools were, on the whole, a more competent group. 
Their general education was better ; the idea of training had been 
accepted ; and their remuneration also had been considerably im- 
proved. Thirdly, the curricula also had undergone a considerable 
change. The indigenous schools had a course of 2 to 3 years and 
taught only the three R’s ; but now the elementary course was 
spread over seven or eight years and included the three R's, history, 
geography, nature study, physical education and hygiene, object 
lessons and drawing, and, with some variations from area to area, a 
second language (mostly English), science, agriculture and even 
handwork. The school building and physical facilities showed 
improvement. A number of schools were provided with buildings ; 
printed books and paper had been introduced ; and some teaching 
aids also began to be supplied. But by far the most far-reaching 
change was noticeable in the social groups from which the pupils 
were drawn : the elementary schools now enrolled a fair number of 

not °nly in the special girls' schools, but even in the boys' 
Sc ools and also an appreciable number of children from the back- 
ward classes — the untouchables as well as the hill tribes. In all these 
ntatters, the new elementary school was a distinct improvement over 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


20 

the indigenous one and the qualitative gain so secured, compensated 
to some extent, the loss in quantity caused through the disappearance 
of the indigenous system. 


CHAPTER 2 


Towards Universal Elementary Education (1921-61) 

The year 1921 is a significant landmark in the history of 
elementary education in India. It was in this year that the control 
of elementary education was transferred to Indian ministers who 
were responsible to a legislature with a large elected majority. 
Moreover, it was from 1921 onwards that the country may be said 
to have definitely accepted the goal of compulsory education for 
all children and made considerable efforts to realize it in practice. 
This period of 40 years may, therefore, be aptly described as 
a march towards universal education. Although this ideal is yet to 
be reached, the overall progress of elementary education during 
this period was faster than in the preceding one, owing as much to 
the general social awakening among the people as to the deliberate 
attempts of government and local bodies to expand it both on a 
voluntary and on a compulsory basis. 

For convenience of presentation, the events of this period will 
be divided into three sub-periods. The first sub-period covers the 
years of dyarchy (1921-37) when the system of provincial govern- 
ment was divided into two halves — reserved and transferred. The 
transferred part was under the control of education ministers 
responsible to the legislature (education, subject to a few reserva- 
tions, was included in this part), while the reserved part continued 
to be the responsibility of the governor. The second and the third 
sub-periods will cover respectively the years of ‘provincial autonomy’ 
0937 - 47 ) under which the entire provincial government was made 
responsible to the provincial legislature, and the post-independence 
era (1947-61). Each of these sub-periods has its own distinctive 
eatures and achievements. Finally, we shall briefly review the 
progress made in the passing of compulsory education laws and 
their enforcement between 1918 and 1961. 

I- Elementary Education under Dyarchy ( 1921 - 37 ) 

Expansion of Elementary Education : The transfer of educa- 



22 


WARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 23 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

tion to Indian control in 1921 ushered in an era of great public 
awakening, especially in the field of elementary education. As the 
Quinquennial Review of the Progress of Education in India , 1927- 
32, observed: ‘A burst of enthusiasm swept children into school 

with unparalleled rapidity ; an almost childlike faith in the value 
of education was implanted in the minds of people ; parents were 
prepared to make almost any sacrifice for the education of their 
children ; the seed of tolerance towards the less fortunate in life 
was begotten ; ambitious and comprehensive programmes of deve- 
lopment were formulated, which are calculated to fulfil the dreams 
of a literate India ; the Muslim community, long backward in 
education, pressed forward with eagerness to obliterate past defi- 
ciencies ; enlightened women began to storm the citadel of old-time 
prejudice against the education of Indian girls ; Government, with 
full concurrence of legislative councils, poured out large sums of 
money on education, which would have been regarded as beyond 
the realm of practical politics ten years previously’. 1 In the five 
years following 1921, therefore, there was a sudden and great spurt 
in the development of elementary education. The number of 
elementary schools increased from 166,809 to 1 97>999» their enrol- 
ment from 6.96 million to 9.11 million, and expenditure from 
Rs. 67.5 million to Rs. 91.9 million. 

Very soon, however, there was a set-back, due mainly to two 
reasons. First and foremost was the world economic depression 
which hit India in 1930 and the effects of which did not pass off till 
about 1937. It necessitated drastic cuts in educational expenditure, 
and all large-scale programmes of expansion had to be postponed. 
The second was an ideological consideration, a new point of view 
which was strongly urged by the Hartog Committee. 2 This Com- 
mittee came to the conclusion that the system of elementary 

1 Vol. I. p. 3. 

3 According to the Government of India Act of 1919, a Royal Commission on 
constitutional reforms was to be appointed in 1929. But owing to the continued 
agitation in India that the Reforms of 1919 were unsatisfactory, a Royal Commission, 
presided over by Sir John Simon, was appointed a little earlier in 1927. Under 
Section 84^(3) of the Government of India Act of 1919, this Commission was asked 
to report on the growth of education in British India and was also authorized to 
appoint, if necessary, an auxiliary committee for the purpose. Accordingly, the 
Commission appointed this Committee presided over by Sir Philip Hartog, who had 
served for several years in India as a member of the Calcutta University Commission, 
and as Vice-Chancellor of the Dacca University. 


T O 

education in India was largely ineffective and wasteful, and that 
these weaknesses had increased considerably, owing mainly to the 
sudden expansion that had taken place since 1921. For instance, 
the Committee drew attention, almost for the first time, to the twin 
evils of wastage and stagnation. It showed that out of every 100 
pupils who entered class I, only 18 reached class V and attained 
literacy and that, even of this meagre number, a fairly large 
proportion lapsed into illiteracy later because there was no ade- 
quate provision for the exercise and maintenance of the literacy 
that had been acquired. It was, therefore, of the view that it would 
be in the larger interests of the country to undertake a programme 
of 'consolidation and improvement’ instead of pressing forward with 
expansion. This view was accepted by the Education Depart- 
ments and came largely to dominate official policies between 1930 
and 1937. 

The tempo of expansion created during the first quinquen- 
nium, therefore, was greatly slowed down during the next ten years 
as the table on page 24 would show. 

It will be seen that the total expansion achieved in the period 
of ten years between 1926-27 and 1936-37 was about the same that 
was achieved in the quinquennium between 1921-22 and 1926-27. 
No one would have objected to this reduction in the tempo 
of expansion if it had at least led to a corresponding improvement 
in quality. But this did not happen and the net result of the 
recommendations of the Hartog Committee was to slow down 
the tempo of expansion without any tangible gains in terms 
of qualitative improvement. 

Transfer of Control to Local Bodies : The second important 

event of this period was the transfer of large powers of control over 
elementary education to the newly constituted local bodies. This 
transfer, it may be pointed out, was very different, both in extent 
and character, from the transfer of control made on the recommen- 
dation of the Indian Education Commission (1882). In the earlier 
case, the transfer of control was mostly an act of administrative 
decentralization. The local bodies of this period were neither fully 
democratic nor autonomous. In the beginning, there were no 
elections and all members were nominated. Later on, elections 
Were introduced, but the elected members were in a minority. 



24 


WARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 25 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


TABLE 1: 

EXPANSION OF ELEMENTARY 

EDUCATION 

(1927-37) 

Year 

Number of 
elementary 
schools 

Number of 
pupils in 
elementary 
schools 

Expenditure on 
elementary 
schools 

(Rs.) 

Enrolment at 
the elementary 
stage includ- 
ing pupils in 
elementary 
departments of 
secondary 
schools 

1921-22 

Primary 

160,070 

6,310,400 

50,908,107 

6,897,233 

Middle , . 

6,739 

644,614 

16,632,257 

434,810 

Elementary 

166,809 

6,955,014 

67,540,364 

7,332,043 

1926-27 

Primary 

189,348 

8,256,760 

69,521,696 

9,120,458 

Middle . . 

8,651 

853,640 

22,391,643 

713,939 

Elementary 

197,999 

9,110,400 

91,913,339 

9,834,397 

1931-32 

Primary 

201,470 

9,454,360 

81,260,290 

10,427,980 

Middle . . 

10,616 

1,342,468 

28,989,829 

980,514 

Elementary 

212,086 

10,796,828 

110,250,119 

11,408,494 

1936-37 

Primary 

197,227 

10,541,790 

83,780,039 

11,465,709 

Middle 

10,762 

1,363,346 

28,722,852 

1,142,254 

Elementary 

207,989 

11,905,136 

112,502,891 

12,607,963 


When, in course of time, they were given the majority, the 
important post of president or chairman was made non-elective and 
was held by government officers in their ex-officio capacity (e.g. the 
Collector or Deputy Commissioner was the ex-officio President or 
Chairman of the District Board or Council). Moreover, inspection 
of elementary schools was done by government officers ; and District 
Educational Officers, who acted as secretaries of local bodies, 
exercised very large administrative powers. The local bodies were, 
therefore, concerned with only a few matters of policy ; and even 
in the making of such policies, the officials of the Department had 


T O 

a large voice and their advice was usually sought and accepted 
by the non-official members. The Education Department, there- 
fore, did not lose much when the so-called 'transfer’ of elementary 
education to local bodies took place after 1882. The circumstances 
of the transfer during the present period were, however, very 
different. Under the Montagu-Chelmsford Report, 3 the local bodies 
were wholly reorganized. They had a fairly broad-based franchise and 
large elected majorities. They now elected their own office-bearers 
and were, in every way, fully conscious of their authority. When 
very large powers devolved on such bodies, the transfer of power no 
longer remained a 'shadow’ as in the past. It became a very real 
thing and created a number of difficult problems. 

When education was transferred to Indian control, it was 
hoped that the measure would lead to an expansion of elementary 
education and to the introduction of compulsory education — a task 
which the earlier bureaucratic regime had failed or refused to do. 
The provincial governments were also conscious of this responsibi- 
lity ; but instead of attempting to fulfil it through the Education 
Departments under their direct control, they tried to achieve the 
goal indirectly through the local bodies. One of the first acts of 
most provincial governments under dyarchy, therefore, was to 
transfer very large powers over elementary education to local bodies. 
This was done with precisely the same motive as had impelled the 
Indian Education Commission (1882) to make a similar recommen- 
dation, that such transfer would facilitate the expansion and 
improvement of elementary education. The result, however, was 
contrary to expectations and the cause of elementary education 
suffered a set-back. 

The Hartog Committee analysed the situation in detail and 
found ample evidence to show that the local bodies were very in- 
experienced in the difficult work of educational administration, that 
they were often reluctant to consult educational officers and that, 
m consequence, there was much that was wasteful and ineffective 
for the educational programme. The worst abuses were reported 

3 This Report, prepared jointly by Mr. Montague, the Secretary of State for India 
and Lord Chelmsford, the Governor-General of India, in 1 . 918 , advocated a large- 
scale reform in local bodies with a view to democratizing them and investing them 
wuh larger powers. Its recommendations were, by and large, accepted and 



2 6 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

in connection with the appointment, promotion and transfer of 
teachers. The Committee observed: 

In England, these matters, which involve much detail where the number of 
teachers is large, are dealt with by local bodies with the assistance of a highly 
trained and competent staff. Local bodies in India do not usually employ 
such staffs, although in a few places there are executive officers for educational 
purposes. In most cases the executive powers in these matters are delegated 
by the local body, or are actually transferred by law, to the chairman (as in 
the United Provinces under an Act of 1928). It is on the one hand a dis- 
advantage to place on an unpaid officer heavy administrative responsibilities ; 
on the other hand, when abuses of power occur, they are easier to deal with if 
the responsibility is placed on a single individual than if it is placed on a 
body of persons. It is a distressing feature in the present system that local 
bodies and their chairmen have in many instances gravely abused their powers 
for political and other purposes, and that teachers are being used as election 
agents, and are transferred at election times for the purpose of influencing 
elections. The advice of the inspecting staff in these matters is frequently 
unsought, and when advice is tendered it is often ignored. Small wonder is 
it that the teacher finds it necessary to devote the greater part of his energies 
towards ingratiating himself with some influential member of the board in 
order to obtain a transfer to a more desirable locality or to secure his retention 
in his present desirable school. The chairman of one district board writes 
that some of the teachers devote much of their time to paying frequent visits 
to members in order to get themselves transferred or in trying to get the order 
of their transfer cancelled. The effect upon the discipline among the teachers 
and the tuition in the schools is deplorable ; and disaster must certainly follow 
in those districts where these practices are allowed to continue. 4 

'#■ ■:~V F JT 

The Hartog Committee, therefore, recommended that suitable 
checks would have to be imposed upon the local bodies and that 
larger powers would have to be assumed by the Provincial 
Governments. It said: 

We have not suggested, nor do we suggest, that the responsibilities of 
Ministers in the provinces should be reduced. On the contrary, we are of 
opinion that they have been reduced too much already by a devolution on 
local bodies which has taken the control of primary education to a large extent 
out of their hands with unfortunate results. The relations between Provincial 
Governments and local bodies demand further consideration and adjustment. 
Under recent legislation, powers have been devolved on local bodies in such 
a way that the Ministers responsible to the legislature have no effective control 
of the expenditure of money voted for mass education ; and in some cases, 
owing to inadequate inspection, they have little information as to the results 
of that expenditure. It is clear that the new factor of ministerial responsibility 
has not been taken sufficiently into account. 5 

4 Report , pp. 328-34. 

5 Ibid , pp. 346-47. 


TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 

It may be admitted that the Hartog Committee emphasized 
only one aspect of the problem and that it did not give due consi- 
deration to the contribution which the local bodies were able to 
make to the progress of elementary education by bringing in addi- 
tional resources and helping to create public awakening. Its 
recommendation was also mainly influenced by the departmental 
official who had not realized that the experiment of local self- 
government in education had really opened out a ‘fairer field for the 
exercise of administrative and directive energy than the more auto- 
cratic system which it superseded.’ It cannot, however, be gain- 
said that the total picture, as it emerged from the Committee’s 
Report, was not inaccurate. There is also little doubt that 
the teachers had suffered considerable demoralization under local 
control and that this had a very undesirable effect upon the quality 
of elementary education as a whole. The main question which 
succeeding administrators in elementary education had to face, 
therefore, was this: How to eliminate these evils arising from local 

control in elementary education and yet retain the advantages of 
local knowledge, interest, and financial support which they can 
bring? 

II. Elementary Education under Provincial Autonomy ( 1937 - 47 ) 

The introduction of Provincial Autonomy in 1937, under the 
Government of India Act, 1 935- removed the handicaps under 
which the Indian Ministers had to function in dyarchy. It was, 
therefore, hoped that education as a whole, and elementary educa- 
tion in particular, would make more rapid progress ; and such 
hopes were brightened by the fact that the Congress, which was 
committed to the programme of compulsory education, had assumed 
office in almost all the provinces. Popular Ministers began their 
task of educational development in right earnest immediately on 
assumption of office in 1937- Almost every province prepared 
programmes for large-scale expansion of elementary education and 
also increased the allocation of funds. Programmes of qualitative 
improvement of elementary education were also simultaneously 
undertaken. But hardly had this good work got into full swing 
when the Ministries resigned on the outbreak of the Second World 
War in 1939. For the next six years, caretaker governments 



28 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


WARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUC A T ION 2Q 


functioned in the provinces and their responsibility was restricted 
merely to continuing and maintaining the programmes already 
started. There was, therefore, not much progress between 1939 
and 1945. Post-war plans for educational development were pre- 
pared by 1944. But their implementation was postponed in view 
of the political changes in the offing and the short period between 
the end of the war and the attainment of independence was mostly 
taken up by plans for the transfer of power. Programmes for 
effective development of elementary education, therefore, did not 
begin until after the attainment of independence. 

For the reasons indicated above, the progress of elementary 
education between 1937 and 1947 was not impressive (Table 2). 


TABLE 2; EXPANSION OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION (1937-47) 


Year 

Number of 
elementary 
schools 

Number of 
pupils in 
elementary 
schools 

Expenditure 
on elementary 
schools 

(Rs.) 

Enrolment at 
the elementary 
stage includ- 
ing pupils on 
rolls in 
elementary 
departments of 
sec. schools 

1936-37 

Primary 

197,227 

10,541,790 

83,780,039 

11,465,709 

Middle 

10,762 

1,363,346 

28,722,852 

1,142,254 

Elementary 

207,989 

11,905,136 

112,502,891 

12,607,963 

1941-42 

Primary . , 

181,968 

12,018,726 

94,951,601 

13,105,618 

Middle 

11,162 

1,450,841 

27,713,017 

1,232,234 

Elementary 

193,130 

13,469,567 

122,664,618 

14,337,852 

1946-47 

Primary 

172,661 

13,036,248 

184,866,503 

14,105,418 

Middle 

12,843 

1,781,390 

48,028,644 

2,036,109 

Elementary 

185,504 

14,817,638 

232,895,147 

16,141,527 


Some attempts were made in this period to modify and limit 
the powers given to local bodies under dyarchy. In Bombay, the 


x o 

Primary Education Act of 1923 was amended in 1938 and powers 
of inspection were taken over fully by the Government. The 
Administrative Officer, who functioned as the secretary of the 
District School Board, was made a government servant. The power 
of appointing and transferring teachers was withdrawn from the 
School Boards and vested in the Administrative Officer ; and 
Government assumed the right to give specific directives to the 
School Boards on any matter it felt essential. This welcome change, 
though it met with considerable resistance initially, led to a good 
deal of improvement and set a pattern which has persisted to the 
present day. 

During this period, the main effort of Government was 
directed to programmes of consolidation and improvement rather 
than to those of expansion. Programmes for teacher training, 
improvement of curriculum, and adoption of newer and better 
methods of teaching made headway, particularly with the stimula- 
tion provided by the concept of basic education which was placed 
before the country by Mahatma Gandhi in 1937. The salaries of 
the teachers were improved and there was a noticeable reduction 
in stagnation and wastage. 

III. Elementary Education in Post-Independence Period (1946-61) 

Constitutional Provision for Elementary Education : The idea 
of compulsory education was first put forward in India as early as 
1838. The first efforts in this direction were made by missionaries 
and officials. But Indians themselves took up the demand very 
soon and heroic attempts to make Government accept responsibility 
for providing compulsory education were made by Gokhale between 
1910-12. It was due mainly to the efforts of national leaders 
inspired by Gokhale that compulsory primary education laws w T ere 
passed in all the British Indian provinces and some attempt was 
also made to enforce them. A brief account of these developments 
will be given in the next section. The results obtained from this 
legislation were, however, meagre and very soon a general demand 
grew up that the country must prepare a phased short-range 
programme for the provision of free elementary education for all 
children up to the age of 14 years. The efforts to make the British 
Government accept this national ideal had not succeeded. It was, 



3 ° ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

therefore, natural that it should figure prominently in the thinking 
of the people on the attainment of independence. The Post-war 
Plan of Educational Development, which had been prepared by the 
British Government in 1944, proposed a period of 40 years for the 
realization of this ideal. Indian public opinion opposed this 
proposal very strongly on the ground that the period proposed in 
the Plan was far too long. The Kher Committee proposed a 
revised programme of reaching this goal in 16 years. 6 Even this 
did not meet the desire of the people and there was a general 
demand that very high priority should be given to the programme 
of universal elementary education in the national development 
plans and that it should be reached through a phased and short- 
range programme. It was in response to this demand that the 
Constitution of India, adopted in 1950, contained the following 
Directive Principle of State Policy: 

Art. 45 : The State shall endeavour to provide, within a 

period of ten years from the commencement of this 
Constitution, for free and compulsory education for 
all children until they complete the age of fourteen 
years. 

During the last eleven years, the efforts of the country have 
been directed to the realization of this goal set before it by the 
Constitution. 

Expansion of Elementary Education : The table on page 31 

shows the progress of elementary education in the post-inde- 
pendence period. 

The statistics of 1946-47 and those of 1950-51 given in this 
table are not strictly comparable. The former include figures of 
several areas which now form part of Pakistan and exclude those 
from the areas of the princely states now included in the Indian 
Union. Moreover, the attention of the country could not be 
concentrated on developmental programmes during this period, 
since priority had to be given to the immense problems of 
rehabilitation arising out of the partition. In spite of these 
limitations, these statistics show that the tempo of expansion in 
elementary education had increased considerably in this period, 

6 Report of the Committee on Ways and Afeans of Financing Educational Deve- 
lopment in India, 1950. 


X' O W A R 


DS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 3 1 


TABLE 3: ENROLMENT IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 

IN POST-INDEPENDENCE PERIOD 

(Figures in millions) 



1946-47 


Boys 

10 63 

531 

1*72 

154 

Girls 

3*48 

17*4 

0*32 

2*9 

Total . . 

14*11 

35*0 

2*04 

90 

1950-51 

Boys 

13*77 

59*8 

2*59 

20 7 

Girls 

5*38 

24*6 

0*53 

4*5 

Total . . 

19 15 

42*6 

3*12 

12*7 

1955-56 

Boys 

17*53 

70*3 

3*42 

25*5 

Girls 

7*64 

32*4 

0*87 

69 

Total . . 

25*17 

52*9 

4*29 

16-5 

1960-61 

(ESTIMATED) 

Boys 

23*38 

80*5 

4*82 

34*3 

Girls 

10*96 

40*4 

1*47 

10*8 

Total . . 

34*34 

61*1 

6*29 

22*8 

1965-66 

(PLAN TARGET) 

Boys 

3012 

90*4 

7*00 

39*9 

Girls 

19-52 

61-6 

2*75 

16-5 


Total . . 



49 64 


76*4 


9*75 


286 



32 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


clue mainly to the public awakening created by the attainment of 
independence. 

The expansion of elementary education entered into its 
own in the Five-Year Plans for national development. In the 
First Plan, programmes of elementary education were allocated 
Rs. 850 million (or 63.9 per cent) out of a total allocation 
of Rs. 1,330 million to programmes of general education. In the 
Second Plan, they received an allocation of Rs. 870 million out of 
a total allocation of Rs. 2,080 million, constituting 41.9 per cent 
of the total allocation for general education. In the Third Plan, 
programmes of elementary education have a total allocation of 
Rs. 2,090 million (or 50 per cent) out of a total allocation of 
Rs. 4,180 million for general education. In the First Plan, the 
total enrolment in elementary education went up by 7.2 million 
and in the Second, by 11.2 million. In the Third Plan, it is 
expected to go up by 18.8 million which is a little more than the 
increase in the First and the Second Plans put together. This rate 
of expansion in elementary education has obviously no parallel in 
past history. Among other significant developments of this period 
by far the most important was the adoption of basic education as 
the national pattern at the elementary stage. The need for ancil- 
lary services, such as school meals, had been felt for a long time ; 
but hardly any effort had been made, except in a few cities, to 
provide school meals to poor and needy children. A lead in 
this matter was given by Madras State which first introduced a 
scheme of school meals with community support and later on 
expanded it with assistance from state funds. The programme has 
now spread to a number of other states. By 1961, about 4 million 
children in the country were provided with school meals and the 
target to be reached by the end of the Third Plan has been placed 
at 10 million. Steps are also being taken to provide free text- 
books to poor children, to improve the standard of textbooks and 
to bring down their prices. A movement for introducing school 
uniforms is also gathering momentum. 

Another significant development has been the growing effort 
to bring the school closer to the local community and to seek 
community support for improvement of elementary education. The 
State of Madras has given a lead in the matter. The idea was first 


TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 33 

tried in 195^ in a small area in Chingleput district. The physical 
deficiencies of every elementary school in the area were carefully 
assessed and the community was apprised of the basic needs of each 
school through informal contacts and they were requested to come 
forward with donations in cash and kind to meet the deficiencies. 
The response of the people was very encouraging. Projects to the 
value of Rs. 15,000 were undertaken and donations and gifts worth 
Rs. 1,300 were made at the first School Improvement Conference 
of the area. Since then, the movement has spread to other parts 
of the State and till December i960, more than 150,000 projects 
of school improvement at an estimated cost of Rs. 63 million 
were undertaken by the people and schemes worth Rs. 40 million 
have already been carried out. The movement is now spreading 
to other parts of the country. 

In respect of the relations of local bodies to elementary educa- 
tion, the developments have taken different directions in different 
states. In Punjab, the State Government took over the adminis- 
tration of all elementary schools. In Bihar, the powers of the local 
authorities were curtailed. A movement in the opposite direction 
has followed the decision to establish Panchayati Raj institutions 
at the block and district levels and to transfer to them all develop- 
mental programmes, including primary (and even secondary) educa- 
tion. The details of this programme will be discussed in a later 
chapter. But it would be enough to mention here that several 
states have already accepted this recommendation and acted upon 
it while others are actively considering it. It appears that the 
wheel is again tracking the circle made by the earlier deci- 
sions to transfer control to local bodies on the recommendations of 
Indian Education Commission (1882) or the Montague-Chelmsford 
Report (1918). 

Viewed on the whole, this has been a period, not only 
of unprecedented expansion, but also of considerable qualitative 
improvement. There has been a general complaint that standards 
m education have fallen in the post-independence period because 
°f rapid expansion. Whatever the merits of this view may be with 
reference to the secondary and higher stages, there is reason 
to believe that standards in elementary education have improved 
since 1947. There are several indicators for this: substantial 


3 



34 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


improvement in general education and professional training of 
teachers ; improvement in their pay-scales ; revision of syllabi and 
adoption of better methods of training; introduction of school 
meals , closer school-community relations ; and a reduction in 
stagnation and wastage (although the last two still continue to be 
high). Considerable as these achievements have been, the leeway 
that remains to be covered is of a challenging magnitude. Even 
in 1960-61, when free and compulsory education for all children 
up to the age of 14 years should have been in force according to the 
Directive Principle of the Constitution, only 50 per cent of the total 
population in the age-group had been enrolled in schools (61 per 
cent in the age-group of 6-11 and 23 per cent in the age-group of 
n-14). The standards in elementary education still leave a good 
deal to be desired, with the goal of converting all elementary 
schools to the basic pattern still unrealized. 

IV. Compulsory Education ( 1918 - 61 ) 

Early Beginnings ( 1838-1910 ): Although compulsory atten- 
dance of school children began to be enforced mainly after 1921, 
the idea of compulsory elementary education for children seems to 
have been born with modern elementary education itself. As 
early as 1838, William Adam wrote that ‘the next form in which 
Government influence may be conceived to be employed for the 
promotion of education is by making it compulsory and enacting that 
every village should have a school’. 7 In 1852, Captain Wingate, 
a Revenue Survey Commissioner in Bombay, when called upon by 
Government to give his views on a proposal to levy a local fund on 
land revenue, recommended the levy of such a cess and suggested 
that a part of it should be devoted to providing free and 
compulsory education for sons of agriculturists. 8 These proposals 
did not find favour with other officers most of whom opposed it 
tooth and nail. It was, therefore, dropped although the local fund 
cess, as explained in Chapter 1, came to be levied in 1863. In 1858, 
Mr. T. C. Hope, the Educational Inspector of Gujarat Division, 
proposed that ‘an Act be passed, to be declared in force from year 
to year in such towns and villages as appear to the educational 

7 D. M. Desai, Compulsory Primary Education in India , p. 17. 

8 Ibid . pp. 18-21. F ' 


TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 35 

authorities most ready for and in want of schools and render- 
ing those places liable to a certain assessment for the entire 
expense of supporting them’. 9 This proposal also was turned down 
as premature. These and such other early missionary or official 
attempts, although foredoomed to failure, served a very useful 
purpose of keeping the issue alive till the Indian people themselves 
came forward to demand compulsory education. 

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Indian leaders 
began to ask, through speeches and writings, for compulsory educa- 
tion. This demand was strengthened when England herself passed 
compulsory education laws in 1870 and 1880. In the course of 
their evidence before the Indian Education Commission 1882 
therefore, a large number of leaders from all over the country,’ 
representing all sections of the people, pleaded either for compul- 
sory provision of schooling facilities or for compulsory attendance. 
A few advocated limited compulsion among the children employed 
in factories. In spite of its avowed anxiety for large-scale expansion 
of elementary education, the Commission did not accept any 
of these suggestions, probably because it considered them to be in 
advance of the times. Despite this set-back, the movement gained 
in strength and found a powerful source of inspiration in the 
experiment of compulsory education launched by the State of 
Baroda. Its enlightened ruler, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad, intro- 

T U< |\ C cT PU i SOry educatlon as an experiment, in the Amreli 
aluk of his State in 1893, and in view of the encouraging results 
ained, extended it to all parts of the State in 1906. This great 
experiment clearly showed that compulsory education in India was 
not a utopian dream, but a realistic and practical proposition; 

edur ' S u u mSpire the Indian movement for compulsory 
education with hope and confidence. 10 X 

soon °/ G ° k u hale (l9I °' 12 ) ; The scene of the movement 

Sir Th [ d the pubhc P latform to the floor of the legislature, 
brahim Rahimtoola, a great Muslim leader of Bombay, raised 

tha/T m 6 B u° mbay Legislative Council in 1 9° 2 and proposed 
the r» egin ^ mg be made b y introducing compulsory education in 
City of Bombay. In spite of repeated attempts, however, the 

* Ibid. p. 

” For details, see Chapter 5. 



3 ^ elementary EDUCATION in INDIA 

proposal was not accepted by Government. 11 It was, therefore, left 
to the great Indian leader and educationist, Shri Gopal Krishna 
Gokhale, to make free and compulsory primary education an urgent 
national issue by bringing the struggle to the floor of the Imperial 
Legislative Council. He referred to the problem in his budget 
speech of 1906 and suggested that the first step in the programme 
should be to make primary education free in all the schools 
of the country. This should be followed, he suggested, by making 
primary education compulsory for boys in the Presidency and a few 
other leading towns. When the minds of the people had been 
accustomed to the idea of compulsion, the experiment should be 
gradually extended to all parts of the country and should cover both 
boys and girls in a period of about twenty years. He warned the 
Government that 'it would not do to be deterred by the difficulties 
of the task. Our whole future depends on its accomplishment and 
as the Government continues listless in the matter, it will justly 
be open to the reproach of failing in one of its most sacred duties 
to the people’. 12 He spoke on the subject in a similar strain in 
1907 and again in 1908. 13 Finding that his speeches had not pro- 
duced the desired effect, he launched a frontal attack in 1910 by 
moving a resolution recommending ‘that a beginning be made in 
that direction of making elementary education free and compulsory 
throughout the country, and that a mixed commission of officials 
and non-officials be appointed at an early date to frame definite 
proposals’. The debate on the resolution showed that the House 
was strongly divided. The officials as well as some prominent non- 
officials opposed the resolution on several grounds: (1) there was 

no demand for such a measure from the agriculturists or the poorer 
sections of the society who would be hard hit by it ; (2) there was 
enough scope for expansion of primary education on a voluntary 
basis, and persuasion must be exhausted before compulsion was 
resorted to ; (3) advance of compulsory education must be an 
integral part of advance of education at all levels ; and (4) resources 
were not adequate to meet the demands of the programme. Some 
members even expressed the fear that educated masses, by demand- 

11 D. M. Desai, Compulsory Primary Education in India, pp. 40-7. 

13 Ibid. pp. 71-2. 

18 Ibid. p. 72. 


TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 37 

ing higher social and economic status, would lead to trouble and 
endanger the security of the State. The supporters of the resolu- 
tion, among whom were eminent leaders like Shri Dadabhoy and 
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, met these arguments by pointing 
out that educating the people was the duty of every civilized 
government, that the masses must be educated in spite of themselves, 
and that it was a short-sighted policy to avoid compulsion and 
thereby enable parents to put the children at work at an early age. 
It was also pointed out that, as private and humanitarian agencies 
in the country were limited, the cause of mass education could not 
progress without compulsion and that, in the present circumstances 
of India, the voluntary method of persuasion was a hopeless failure. 
The debate clearly showed that Government was not prepared 
to accept the resolution ; and, therefore, on an assurance from 
Government that his proposals would be examined carefully, 
Gokhale withdrew it. 14 

On March 16, 1911, Gokhale came back with a bill ‘to make 
better provision for the extension of elementary education’. It 
embodied most of his proposals of 1910 and was a permissive measure 
enabling the local bodies to introduce compulsory education in 
their areas. It came up for consideration on March 18, 1912 
after eliciting public opinion. The Government members opposed 
it vehemently on grounds similar to those on which they had 
opposed his resolution earlier. But Gokhale met all their argu- 
ments and closed his address with these memorable words: 

My Lord, I know that my bill will be thrown out before the day closes. I 
ma e no complaint. I shall not even feel depressed. I know too well the 
s ory of the preliminary efforts that were required even in England, before 
me Act of 1870 was passed, either to complain or to feel depressed. Moreover, 
have always felt and have often said that, we of the present generation in 
ndia, can only hope to serve our country by our failures. The men and 
vvomen who will be privileged to serve her by their successes will come later. . . 
ibis bill, thrown out today, will come back again and again, till on the step- 

1; i S > c' n , eS ° £ ltS dead selves ’ a measure ultimately rises which will spread the 
“ght of knowledge throughout the land. 

As anticipated, the motion to refer the bill to the Select 
ommittee was rejected 15 by 38 votes against 13. 

II \ b j d ' PP* 72-9. 
lbld ' PP- 79'95- 



3 $ elementary EDUCATION IN INDIA 

The Patel Act of 1918 : The work of Gokhale was taken up 

by Shri Vithalbhai Patel. As early as 1916, he moved a resolution in 
the Bombay Legislative Council recommending the appointment of 
a committee of officials and non-officials to frame and submit definite 
proposals for making elementary education free and compulsory 
within the municipal districts, with the ultimate object of intro- 
ducing it throughout the Province. The resolution was lost. But 
Vithalbhai renewed his efforts with greater vigour and, in 1917, 
moved a bill for the introduction of compulsory elementary educa- 
tion in the municipal districts of the Province. Although there was 
some opposition even now, the Bill was ultimately passed with some 
modifications and became the first law on compulsory education in 
India. 16 

In the next 12 years, eleven more Acts of compulsory education 
were passed and by 1930, every Province of British India had a 
compulsory law on its Statute Book (Table 4). 

TABLE 4: ACTS OF COMPULSORY EDUCATION 


Year 

Province 

Name of the Act 

Compulsion — 
Whether for boys 
or girls 

Whether applicable 
to rural or urban 
areas 

1919 

Punjab 

United 

Primary Education Act 

Boys 

Both 


Provinces 

,, 

Both 

Urban 


Bengal 
Bihar and 

>) 

Boys (extended to 
girls by an amend- 
ment in 1932) 

Urban 


Orissa 

i J 

Boys 

Both 

1920 

Bombay 

Central 

City of Bombay P.E. 
Act 

Both 

Applicable to city of 
Bombay only 


Provinces 

P.E. Act 

>> 

Both 


Madras 

Elementary Education 
Act 

>> 

Both 

1923 

Bombay 

P.E. Act 


Applicable to the whole 
of the Province (ex- 
cept Bombay City) 

1926 

Assam 

United 

ft 

>> 

Rural 


Provinces 

District Boards P.E. 
Act 

» 

Rural 

1930 

Bengal 

Bengal (Rural) P.E. Act 

„ 

Rural 


TOWARDS UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 39 

Later Developments (1930-1961) : It will be seen that all the 

Indian Provinces — which became Part A States under the Consti- 
tution of India in 1950 — had already passed compulsory education 
laws by 1930. In the subsequent period of 30 years, most of these 
were amended from time to time, in the light of experience gained. 
The details of these amendments need not, however, be considered 
here. 

The erstwhile princely states — most of which became Part B 
and C States under the Constitution in 1950 — did not have such 
legislation in all cases. As stated earlier, Baroda had a compulsory 
education law since 1893 ; Kolhapur passed one in 1917 ; Kashmir 
in 1930 ; Mysore in 1931 ; Travancore in 1945 ; and Hyderabad in 
1952. Some other states like Bhopal, Bikaner, or Gondal also had 
compulsory education laws, although full details about them are not 
readily available. But even in i960, there were several areas 
belonging to the erstwhile princely states in which there was no 
legislation for compulsory education, a matter on which early action 
seems to be called for. 

In i960, exactly 50 years after Gokhale had moved his resolu- 
tion on compulsory education in the Central Legislature, Dr. K. L. 
Shrimali, the Union Minister of Education, moved the Delhi 
Primary Education Bill in the Parliament. Its immediate objective 
was to provide a compulsory education law for the Delhi Union 
Territory ; but it also included up-to-date provisions regarding 
enforcement of compulsory attendance, which could be taken as a 
model by the states for amending their compulsory education laws. 
The Bill became law on the 2nd of October, i960. 

The State Governments have since initiated action to amend 
their compulsory education laws on the model of the Delhi Primary 
Education Act, i960. So far, such legislation has been passed in 
Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Mysore, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. 

Enforcement of Compulsory Education Laics : The passing of 
compulsory education laws is the first and the simplest step in a 
programme of compulsory education. What is of greater import- 
ance is their enforcement in practice. In this respect, however, the 
progress shown was limited and out of proportion to the great 
enthusiasm with which these laws were enacted. In 1921, when 
ei ght laws for compulsory education had already been passed. 


16 Ibid. pp. 104 - 11 . 



40 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


compulsion had been introduced only in seven municipal areas, five 
in Bombay, two in the Punjab and one in Bihar and Orissa. Fifteen 
years later, in 1936-37, the number of municipal and rural areas 
under compulsion rose only to 167 and 13,062 respectively and only 
0.6 per cent of the urban areas and 1 .g per cent of the rural areas 
were covered by the programme. Even in 1947, there were only 
1 55 urban and 7,824 rural areas under compulsion. (The apparent 
decrease was due to partition.) In the post-independence period, 
much better progress was evinced ; but even in 1958-59, the latest 
year for which the statistics are available, the areas under compul- 
sion were 1,198 urban and 56,976 rural and the number of pupils 
attending schools in compulsory areas was only 7.2 million or 29 per 
cent of the total enrolment. As compared to the total magnitude of 
the problem, this progress cannot be regarded as satisfactory. 

One of the important sectors in which further work is needed, 
therefore, is to evaluate existing programmes of compulsory educa- 
tion, to determine the factors which impede a successful implemen- 
tation of compulsory attendance and to take suitable measures to 
make the programme effective. This is a fruitful field for research 
and experimentation by the State Education Departments. 


CHAPTER 3 

Objectives, Curricula and Methods of Teaching (1800-1937) 

Early Vernacular Schools : The word 'primary’ or 'elementary’ 
education came in use in modern Indian education rather late and, 
in the early days, there were only two types of schools which were 
mutually exclusive— English and Vernacular. The British officials 
who laid the foundations of the modern system of education in 
India were most concerned with one issue: how to impart a know- 
ledge of western science and literature to the Indian people. This 
could obviously be done most easily through the medium of the 
English language and it was for this purpose that the scheme of 
English schools was devised — its object being to teach the English 
language in the first instance and then to introduce the student to 
the learning and culture of the West. Since English could be 
taught only to a small percentage of people, they also desired to 
impart western culture and knowledge through the medium of the 
Indian languages and the system of ‘vernacular’ schools was first 
conceived for this purpose. The two systems were mutually 
exclusive and the ‘vernacular’ did not lead to the ‘English’. 

The system of vernacular schools grew up most conspicuously 
m the Province of Bombay between 1824 and 1854. The teachers 
of these schools, which usually had ten classes, were given a long 
course of pre-service training to enable them to teach their ambi- 
tious curriculum which included reading, writing, arithmetic, 
tstory of England and India, geography, astronomy, natural 
P 1 osophy, algebra. Euclidean Geometry, and trigonometry. It 
would, therefore, be wrong to call them ‘primary’ schools. They 
were in fact ‘secondary’ schools which used the mother-tongue as 
t e medium of instruction ; and the Government of Bombay even 
conceived of and conducted, for some time, a ‘vernacular’ college 
tor their students. 

The Birth of the Lower Elementary School : What were the 
actors which changed this high concept of ‘vernacular’ schools into 
that of ‘primary’ schools which generally covered the primary or the 



42 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

first stage of education and merely prepared their students for 
secondary schools? The answer is to be found in three sets 
of pressures. The first was financial. These schools were naturally 
costlier and, therefore, there was a continuous pressure to lower 
their standards with a view to reducing costs. The second came 
from the desire to build up a regular educational ladder. A child 
should naturally have an elementary instruction in the three R’s in 
his own mother-tongue before he begins the study of English. It was, 
therefore, felt that the proper object of Vernacular schools’ should 
be to teach the three R’s and to prepare the child for a secondary 
school as quickly as possible in three or four years at the most. The 
third pressure came from the parents. Accustomed to the indigen- 
ous schools for centuries, the average Indian thought only in terms 
of an education restricted to the three R’s and resisted all attempts 
to introduce a wider curriculum. The new vernacular schools of 
the Government were, therefore, quite unpopular. An interesting 
light is thrown on this aspect of the problem by the following 
report of an Educational Inspector of this period: 

Whatever may be thought of these results ( i.e . the curricula of vernacular 
schools) in other quarters, the people themselves — the cess-payers — seem to 
think their boys in our Vernacular Schools are required to learn much. In a 
former report I once mentioned that one of the chief men in a large village, 
after sitting out the school examination, in which he seemed to take some 
interest, asked me to order the school master to teach only writing and cipher- 
ing, and not to use printed books or maps. This year, at another large village, 
which has a great deal of good land, and pays much cess, the Kulkurnee told 
me, that if I made the school master teach only writing and ciphering the school 
attendance would be trebled ; that the people did not want what he called 
‘sirkaree vidya’, that ‘gawtee vidya’ was enough for them, and as much as 
their children could be expected to acquire. A village elder and spokesman at 
another place (a Talooka town, where the Mamlatdar was present at the school 
examination) made a very animated speech against much learning, and in 
favour of the people’s right to be as ignorant as their fathers. He said 
Government seemed to wish to make the people clever, and that education was 
doubtless a proper thing for Europe and Europeans, but that his people pre- 
ferred to remain as they were. I mention these things as illustration of the 
general, if not universal, feeling of the people, which must be taken into account 
in judging the progress of Government Vernacular Schools and in revising 
examination standards. I have, elsewhere reported that I do not think these 
standards should be lowered ; but I think some compromise should be made 
to induce boys to attend our schools, who now attend only indigenous schools 
or none at all. 1 

1 J. P. Naik: History of the Local Fund Cess in the Province of Bombay , 

pp. 31-32. 


OBJECTIVES, CURRICULA AND METHODS 43 

The result, therefore, was that the old idea of vernacular 
schools was given up and by 1870, the new ‘primary’ schools had 
only four classes, taught only the three R’s, and prepared their 
students for secondary schools. In the circumstances of the period, 
the liquidation of this great experiment is disappointing, but not 
surprising. That the idea managed to survive for nearly half a 
century is, in fact, almost a miracle. 

In other provinces, no attempt was made to develop ‘verna- 
cular’ schools on the lines of Bombay. But the objective of 
vernacular education was defined as conveying ‘useful and practical 
knowledge, suited to every station in life, to the great mass 
of people’. This meant the three R’s to begin with, but would 
also have to include several other things. The attempt to introduce 
these ‘other things’, however, was resisted as strongly as in Bombay 
and the concept of a primary school teaching only the three R’s and 
preparing children for secondary schools after a course of 3 to 5 years 
became general in all parts of the country. The new ‘vernacular’ 
schools of government did not, therefore, raise standards in the 
indigenous schools as they were expected to do. It was the indi- 
genous schools that dragged the government vernacular schools to 
their own level. 

The Birth of the Higher Elementary School : Soon a reaction 
set in. First, the Wood’s Education Despatch had pointed out that 
the ‘active measures’ of government be directed to one significant 
problem: ‘how useful and practical knowledge, suited to every 
station in life, may be best conveyed to the great mass of the 
people.’ 

Any attempt to implement this directive implied a raising 
of standards in the elementary schools. Secondly, government 
needed a large number of employees who had received some educa- 
tion beyond the three R’s but who need not have a knowledge of 
English. The teachers of primary schools, for instance, must have 
studied beyond the primary stage but not necessarily in the secon- 
dary schools. Such administrative needs suggested the lengthening 
of the primary course to some extent. Thirdly, with the expansion 
of elementary education, a body of students began to come in — 
students who could stay in school for 2 or 3 years after the primary 
stage, but who would not be able to go in for the longer secondary 



44 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 


OBJECTIVE S, CURRICULA AND METHODS 


45 


course or for whom a secondary school could not be provided. It 
was naturally felt that a longer elementary course would be 
an appropriate answer to this problem. Steps, therefore, began to 
be taken to increase the duration of the elementary course to five, 
six, seven or eight years, according to local conditions and needs. 
Thus came the ‘upper primary’ school stage into existence. The 
‘primary’ or ‘vernacular’ or ‘elementary’ school continued to provide 
a short course as before and mainly aimed at teaching the three 
R’s. At the end of this course, a pupil could go into an ‘anglo- 
vernacular’ school which led on further to the high school and to the 
university. In the alternative, he could join an ‘upper primary 
or vernacular’ or ‘higher elementary’ or ‘middle’ school which 
prepared him for some job such as that of an elementary school 
teacher or a lower grade employee in a government department. 
The elementary course thus came to consist of two stages — a lower 
stage of 3 to 5 years and an upper stage of 2 to 3 years and this 
development became fairly general by 1881 and almost universal 
by 1901. 

Elementary School Curricula in 1881-82 and 1902-07 : The 

Report of the Indian Education Commission describes the curricula 
of elementary schools as they existed in the different provinces of 
India in 1882. They have been reproduced in Appendix I given 
at the end of this chapter. The elementary course of this period 
generally covered five years (Bombay had the longest course of six 
years). It was mainly restricted to the teaching of the three R’s at the 
lower stage. Even at the higher stage, all that it tried to teach was 
a little history and geography, sanitation, native accounts, elemen- 
tary drawing, agriculture, and a little English (in some areas only). 
By 1901, the process of lengthening the elementary course and 
enriching the curriculum had gone a step further. The primary 
schools now came to consist of six to eight classes, with or without 
an ‘infant’ class meant for very young children. An analysis of the 
curricula of this period has been given in Appendix II at the end 
of this chapter. It will be seen that the main additions to the 
curriculum were drawing, object lessons, singing and recitation, 
science, mensuration, physical education and manual work (as an 
optional subject only in a few areas). The objectives of the full 
course of elementary education are thus described by the Quin- 


quennial Review of the Progress of Education in India (1897- 
1902, pp- i5 8 -59) : 

The course of instruction in a primary school is simple and in general the 
maximum which it attempts is to teach the child to read and write his own 
language ; to obtain a sufficient knowledge of arithmetic and mensuration to 
enable him to do easy sums ; and to understand the simple forms of native 
accounts and the village map ; to acquire a rudimentary knowledge of 
geography, agriculture, sanitation and of the history of his country ; to train 
his faculties by simple kindergarten and object lessons ; and to develop his 
physique by drill and exercises. The choice of books is so designed that the 
child may gain some knowledge of history, geography and the elements of 
science from the primers from which he learns to read. Of recent years 
endeavour has been made to render the course less bookish and more practical 
and specially by the introduction of kindergarten methods and object lessons 
Where these methods have been used with discretion, that is to say, by com- 
petent teachers, without elaborate forms, rules, and appliances, using objects 
familiar to the children in their everyday life, they have been productive of 
much benefit, in imparting greater life and reality to the teaching and in 
training the children’s senses and powers of observation. 

The motivation for these changes came, not so much from local 
needs and demands as from the desire to initiate in India the 
changes that were taking place simultaneously in England. This, 
of course, has been one of the powerful forces in the building of 
modern Indian education in all sectors. Shri R. V. Parulekar, who 
made a special study of the evolution of elementary school curri- 
cula in Bombay, brings out this point very clearly (and what he 
says about Bombay is applicable to other areas as well) : 

Let us turn to the elementary schools of England. In 1863, the first Educa- 
tion Code saw the light of the day, and therein the subjects prescribed for 
standards I to IV of the elementary schools consisted of Reading, Writing 
and Arithmetic only. (Needle -work was prescribed for girls). Of 

course, as in our schools, the subjects were divided into four parts accord- 
ing to standards of increasing difficulty. If we confine ourselves to the 
first four standards of the English elementary schools of those days, we see 
that, in 1868, Geography, History and Grammar were prescribed as ‘optional’ 
subjects for standard IV with the proviso that one or two of these three 
might be taught in standard IV only. In 1875, they were still ‘optional’, 
but not more than two were to be optional subjects. It was only in 1893 that 
one of the three subjects. History, Geography and Grammar was made obliga- 
tory in the Primary School course at the option of the schools. In that year. 
Drawing was also made compulsory. It will thus be seen that during the years 
1862 to 1893, a period of over thirty years, not a single subject out of all the 
above subjects except language and arithmetic (i.e. the three R’s) was made 
o ligatory in English schools. It is also important to note that only a very 
few schools provided instruction in these subjects before 1900 in the lower 
standards of the primary schools. It may be further pointed out that during 



46 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


OBJECTIVES; CURRICULA AND METHODS 


47 


a period of thirty years from 1862-92, the English primary schools had the 
busiest period in their history ; for, while in 1862 only 5 to 6 per cent of the 
population of England was in schools, in 1880, this percentage had nearly 
trebled and in 1893 when one of the three subjects — History, Geography or 
Grammar — was made obligatory, England had, for nearly more than a decade, 
the proud privilege of having almost all school -going children (6 to 11 according 
to our standard) in its primary schools. 

It will be both interesting and instructive to see how the Bombay Educa- 
tional administrators imposed the several ‘optional’ subjects of the English 
schools on the Bombay Primary Schools, making them not ‘optional’ as in 
England but obligatory. The Bombay (lower) primary school curriculum 
(standards up to IV) was first framed under the Departmental Code in 1865-66, 
and the subjects included were exactly the same as in England at the time, 
namely, the three R’s except that Bombay added Grammar to the fourth 
standard. As soon as England prescribed Geography and History as ‘optional’ 
subjects for standard IV, Bombay planted both of them almost the very 
same year on standards II or III as compulsory subjects. As to Object 
Lessons, Bombay had them in 1887 or five years later than England (1882) but 
compulsorily, not at option, as was the case in England. As regards Drawing, 
England had it as a compulsory subject in 1893, and Bombay ten years later. 
Nature Study took very long to come to Bombay. In England it appeared on 
the scene in about 1902, in Bombay in 1919. Be it however noted that com- 
pulsory Physical Training which was introduced in English Primary Schools 
in 1902, has not as yet appeared in the Bombay schools as a compulsory sub- 
ject. It would, therefore, appear that as soon as it was discovered in Bombay 
that a certain subject was introduced in the schools of England, it was soon 
prescribed for the Bombay schools, making the curriculum compulsorily richer 
and richer and even far more in advance of the ordinary English elementary 
school curriculum of the time, at least so far as the number of subjects was 
concerned . . . One cannot, however, help remarking that in copying whole- 
sale the English model and superimposing it on Indian schools, the educational 
administrators hardly took into account the very important fact that the needs 
of a mainly agricultural country split into numerous villages would not be 
the same as those of a highly urbanized and industrialized country like 
England. It follows, therefore, that even purely from the point of view of 
efficiency, the curriculum laid down was not altogether suitable for the needs of 
the Indian masses. 2 

The Experiment of Rural Schools : Elementary education, as 

it had thus developed in the nineteenth century, had three specific 
objectives: (1) it imparted literacy ; (2) it prepared for admission 

to a secondary school ; and (3) it secured, for every pupil who com- 
pleted the elementary course, some lower job under Government. 
These objectives were accepted without question so long as the 
expansion of elementary education was within bounds and was 
restricted to the urban areas or to the upper and middle classes. 

2 R. V. Parulekar: Mass Education in India , pp. 15-16. 


But with the increasing enrolments as had already been reached 
by 1901 — and still more with those contemplated for the future— 
the second of these objectives could apply to only a few children 
and the third to an extremely small minority. The traditional 
system of elementary education was thus left with only one objec- 
tive, viz., to impart literacy. This situation naturally raised a 
number of difficult questions. Is mere literacy worthwhile? Would 
it be desirable to incur such heavy expenditure on elementary 
education merely for the sake of literacy? How does elementary 
education constitute ‘useful and practical knowledge, suited to 
every station in life’ which, in the words of the Despatch of 1854, 
was the purpose of elementary education? How does elementary 

education help a rural child or the child of an agriculturist and 

these formed 90 per cent of the total population— to become a better 
and a more useful citizen? These questions began to be raised 
towards the end of the nineteenth century and they became all the 
more urgent in the twentieth as the pace of expansion increased. 
It is to these questions that the Education Departments had to find 
answers. 

The problem was dealt with in the comprehensive programme 
of educational development initiated by Lord Curzon in the begin- 
ning of this century. He felt that the traditional curriculum 
could be regarded as suitable for urban areas only ; and that, what- 
ever its merits, it did not meet the needs of the agriculturists or of 
rural areas. Hence arose the need to differentiate the curriculum 
of the rural school from that of the urban and to make rural school 
conform closely to its own environment. He said: 

The .instruction of the masses in such subjects as will best fit them for their 
position in life involves some differentiation in the courses for rural schools, 
especially in connection with the attempts which are being made to connect 
primary teaching with familiar objects. . . The aim of the rural schools should 
be, not to impart definite agricultural teaching, but to give to the children 
a preliminary training which will make them intelligent cultivators, will train 
em to be observers, thinkers, and experimenters in however humble a 
manner, and will protect them in their business transactions with the landlords 
to whom they pay rent and the grain dealers to whom they dispose of their 
°ps. The reading books prescribed should be written in simple language, 
not in unfamiliar literary style, and should deal with topics associated with 
rural life. The grammar taught should be elementary, and only native 
systems of arithmetic should be used. The village map should be thoroughly 
understood ; and a most useful course of instruction may be given in the 



4 8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


objectives, curricula and methods 


49 


accountant’s papers, enabling every boy before leaving school to master the 
intricacies of the village accounts and to understand the demands that may 
be made upon the cultivator. The Government of India regard it as a matter 
of the greatest importance to provide a simple, suitable, and useful type of 
school for the agriculturist, and to foster the demand for it among the 
population. 3 

These ideas were tried out in almost all parts of the country 
and, in particular, an attempt was made to introduce nature study, 
school gardening and agriculture in rural schools. But they did 
not succeed. This was due mainly to two reasons. There were 
immense difficulties in getting equipment, land and trained teachers. 
A more serious difficulty, however, arose from the fact that 
this differentiation tended to create a gulf between the urban and 
the rural school — the former, teaching more language, arithmetic 
and English, led to secondary schools and careers, while the latter, 
which was devoting a good deal of time to agriculture, led nowhere. 
The rural population resented this and desired to have schools 
which were as like the urban schools as possible. The situation 
has been graphically described by the Quinquennial Review of the 
Progress of Education in India , 1917-22, p. 122, in the following 
words : 

It is often assumed that the education given in a village school is despised 
because it is not practical enough. In many cases, however, the parent's 
objection is just the opposite. He has no desire to have his son taught agri- 
culture, partly because he thinks he knows far more about that than the 
teacher, but still more because his ambition is that his boy should become a 
teacher, or a clerk. The solution which is so frequently put forward of popu- 
larising schools by adapting rural education to rural needs has little or no 
meaning in the absence of an agreement as to rural needs between the rustic 
and the reformer. The reformer has in mind the introduction of utilitarian 
studies such as agriculture into the village school course. The rustic sends 
his child to school to learn to read and write. He has no doubt of the fact 
that the village guru knows less of agriculture than he does himself and that 
what the boy needs in the matter of agricultural knowledge he can learn by 
doing in the fields. It is a view altogether sensible ; and some sympathy may 
be felt for the parents in one backward area who went so far as to beat the 
guru for setting their boys to work in the school garden. . . A subject which 
is far more likely to attract pupils to primary schools is English. The 
teaching of English in primary classes is permitted in Madras, Bengal, Bihar 
and Orissa and in the higher or secondary classes in Bombay. 

The Education Departments tried to eliminate the difference 
between the urban and elementary schools by introducing the 

3 Progress of Education in India , 1897-1902, p. 464. 


curricula of urban schools in the rural schools and vying with each 
other in teaching English — which was then esteemed as the key 
to everything considered worthwhile. Consequently, a reform 
which began with the idea of giving an agricultural bias to rural 
schools ended by introducing the teaching of English in them I The 
rural schools thus came back to the point from which they had 
started at the beginning of this reform. The objectives of elemen- 
tary education which were designed in early 19th century, for a 
system which catered for a limited enrolment, continued to 
dominate right down to 1937? even though the composition and the 
nature of the school population had undergone great changes with 
expansion. 

The answer to this difficult problem did come at last, not from 
the Education Departments, but from Mahatma Gandhi, the Father 
of the Nation. In 1937, he placed his scheme of basic education 
before the country and claimed that it was the one answer to India's 
needs in elementary education. The birth and subsequent develop- 
ment of this revolutionary educational philosophy and programme 
will be dealt with in the next chapter. 

T caching Methods : The teaching methods of the indigenous 

schools were generally crude and based upon long and continuous 
drill and rote memory. When the new elementary schools were 
started, the teachers were the persons who had received their early 
education in the indigenous schools ; and, as no other training had 
been given to them, they unconsciously adopted the methods 
of teaching in indigenous schools to which they were accustomed. 
The new elementary schools, therefore, also started with teaching 
methods based on rote memory and drill, supported by severe 
physical punishment for the defaulters. In the teaching of the three 
R s — which formed the core curriculum in the indigenous schools — 
these methods were always adopted without a question. But even 
m the new subjects added to the curriculum, the same methods 
were extended without a change. History, for instance, meant learn- 
ln g by heart long lists of names of kings and the dates of 
their birth, accession or death. Geography meant learning by 
heart long lists of place names. Even a concept like 'the earth is 
round' was taught by making the boys learn by heart the seven 
different proofs to show that the earth is round. 

4 



50 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


This emphasis on rote learning and memory could have been 
reduced with the passage of time if the training of teachers had 
been properly developed. But that did not happen in India. Even 
in 1901, only 18 per cent of the teachers were trained. Moreover, 
‘training of teachers’ meant, at this time, not so much their instruct- 
ion in pedagogy and methods of teaching, as further general 
education. In all training courses, therefore, subject knowledge was 
emphasized very greatly and little attention was paid to methods 
of teaching. The humanizing effect of teacher training was not, 
therefore, felt in elementary education in the nineteenth century. 
On the other hand, a new deterrent, the examination, which was un- 
known even in the indigenous school, was added to the rigours of 
the traditional methods. This was mainly due to the system of 
payment by results which was adopted in England in 1862 and 
introduced in India in 1865. Under it, the inspecting officers had 
to examine annually every pupil in every subject. This external 
test, on which the whole future of the teacher depended, became 
the guiding factor in methods of teaching and the teacher had no 
desire to do anything except to prepare his boys for the inspectorial 
examination. The boys also cooperated because, for them, the 
mere passing of the examination meant the getting of a Government 
job and through it, both social status and economic security. Thus 
teachers and pupils alike worked for a common objective, for upper 
primary school examination. The Indian Education Commission, 
which did not commend the system of payment by results for the 
secondary and higher stages, viewed it most suitable for the 
elementary stage ; and it continued to dominate the scene till the 
close of the century. 

By 1901, however, things began to improve though rather 
slowly. Curzon pointed out that, in the Indian system of education, 
excessive prominence was given to examinations, that the courses 
of study were too purely literary in character and that the schools 
and colleges trained the intelligence of the pupils too little and 
their memory too much. In the reform movement that he initiated 
in the early years of this century, therefore, the system of payment 
by results was abandoned. The training of teachers was improved 
with greater emphasis on pedagogy and methods of teaching. The 
number of training institutions increased so that, in 1937* P er " 


OBJECTIVES, CURRICULA AND 


METHODS 



centage of trained teachers rose to 57. By now, a new generation 
of men and women, who had been brought up in elementary 
schools of a better type, formed the bulk of the teaching profession 
and began to exercise their influence towards a betterment in the 
methods o. teaching. Kindergarten and object lessons were intro- 
duced , and even some activity came in through subjects like 
nature study, school gardening, agriculture, or handwork. There 
was, therefore, considerable improvement in teaching methods by 
J 937- But even at this time, the elementary schools continued to 
be mainly academic institutions which imparted a book-centred 
instruction, little related to the immediate natural and social 
environment of the child or to his future status in life. 

_ ^ soon became obvious, however, that the situation could not 
be improved by tinkerings of the type that had been attempted 
since 1901. A change in teaching methods does not create a change 
in the character and objectives of the educational system. It has 
to be the other way round. What the situation really needed, 
therefore, was a revolution in thinking, nothing less than a break 
with the past, and an intensive effort to evolve an educational 
programme that would be child-centred, activity based, and 
directly oriented to life. This was given to the country by 

Mahatma Gandhi in 1937 and is leading to a revolution in teaching 
methods as well. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


5 * 


APPENDIX I 

COMPARATIVE SYLLABI OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (1882) 

Madras Bombay Bengal 

LOWER PRIMARY STANDARD 
(Usually passed at the end of the pupil’s 3rd year) 

Head Head Head 

1(a) Reading at sight with 1(a) Reading and writing 1, Reading 

facility a moderately of the first and second (a) A vernacular adapta- 

easy book in a verna- Departmental tion of Chamber’s 

cular language. Readers in the printed Rudiments of Know- 

(15 marks) vernacular character. ledge. 

(6) Writing to dictation (b) The First Departmen- (£) Manuscripts written 

from the same book. tal Reader in script in current hand. 

(25 marks) vernacular character. 

(c) Recitation and expla- 

nation of the poetical 
pieces. 

(100 marks) 

2. Arithmetic — The first 2(a) Writing to dictation, 2. Copy-writing. 

4 rules, simple and com- in the printed and (200 marks for heads 

pound, with easy mis- script vernacular 1 and 2) 

cellaneous questions characters, an easy 

founded on them. passage containing 

(40 marks) words of two or three 

syllables. 

( b ) Copy-writing (large 

hand) . 

(100 marks) 

3. Arithmetic 3. Arithmetic 

(a) The first 4 simple (a) The first 4 rules, 

rules. simple and compound. 

(b) Mental Arithmetic (b) Mental Arithmetic on 

on the native methods. the native methods. 

(100 marks) (150 marks) 

(c) Bazar and zamindari 

accounts and simple 
mensuration. 

(150 marks) 

4. Geography — Boun- 4. Cunningham’s Sanitary 
daries, mountains, Primer, 

rivers, chief towns, (100 marks) 

roads, railways etc., 
of the collectorate to 
be pointed out on the 
map. (50 marks) 


Aj 9. — In order to pass, the 
pupil must obtain \ of the 
maximum number of marks 
in each of the above heads 
and £ of the aggregate 
marks of the standard. 


MB . — In order to pass, the 
pupil must obtain £ of the 
marks assigned to each 
sub-head and £ of the 
total marks of each head. 


JV.B . — In order to pass, the 
pupil must obtain £ of the 
marks in each group of 
subjects and § of the aggre- 
gate marks of the standard. 


OBJECTIVES, CURRICULA AND METHODS 


COMPARATIVE SYLLABI OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (1882)— (Contd.) 


Bombay 


UPPER PRIMARY STANDARD 
(Usually passed at the end of a 5th year course) 

Compulsory subjects Compulsory subjects Compulsory subjects 


1(a) Reading at sight with 1(a) Reading with expla- 


fluency and intelligence 
a passage of ordinary 
difficulty from a verna- 
cular book or news- 
paper. 

(15 marks) 


nation and parsing the 
Fifth ^ Departmental 
Book, inclusive of the 
Lessons on Elemen- 
tary Physics and 
Natural History. 

(b) Poetry. 

(c) Reading manuscripts 
written in good cur- 
rent hand. 

(100 marks) 


(6) Writing a passage to 2(a) Writing 
dictation from 1 * 


(25 marks) 


2. Arithmetic 

(a) Reduction, the Com- 
pound Rules and 
Vulgar Fractions. 

(40 marks) 

{b) Mental Arithmetic 
applied to bazar trans- 
actions. 

(10 marks) 

3. Geography— Asia. 

(40 marks) 


printed and script 
character) to dicta- 
tion from the Reading 
Book. 

(b) Copy-writing (cur- 
rent hand) . 

(100 marks) 

2. Arithmetic 
(a) Vulgar Fractions, 
Simple Rule of Three 
and Simple Interest. 


(b) Mental Arithmetic 
(complete) after the 
native methods ; and 
bazar accounts. 

(100 marks) 

4. History of India with 
special reference to the 
History of the Pro- 
vince; Physical & 
Political Geography 
of India; map of the 
District or Province 
to be drawn. 

(100 marks) 


1. Vernacular languages. 

(100 marks) 


2. Arithmetic 

(a) Vulgar and Decimal 
Fractions and Simple 
Proportion. 

(b) Native accounts. 

(150 marks) 

3. Euclid, Book I. 

(50 marks) 

4. History and Geography 
of Bengal. 

(100 marks) 

5. Elements of Physics. 

(100 marks) 

6. Cunningham’s Sanitary 
Primer. 

(100 marks) 



54 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


COMPARATIVE SYLLABI OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (1882 )— (Canid.) 


Madras Bombay Bengal 


UPPER PRIMARY STANDARD — ( Contd.) 

(Usually passed at the end of a 5th year course) 

Optional Subjects Optional Subjects Optional Subjects 

(Any two may be chosen) 

1* Vernacular Poetry — 1. Elementary Drawing, 

recitation and expla- including: 

nation of 200 lines of (a) Freehand drawing, 

verse from any ap- 
proved anthology. ( b ) Model and Object 

Simple parsing. drawing, 

(40 marks) 

(c) Practical Geometry. 

2. English — reading and 2. Field instruction in 

construing from the agriculture. 

Second Reading Book. 

Dictation and oral 
translation. 

(45 marks) 

3. Elementary History — 3. Printing, carpentry, 

India or England, or joinery, smithery, etc. 

the History of the 

World. 

(40 marks) 

4. Cunningham’s Sani- 
tary Primer. 

(40 marks) 

5. Robertson’s Agricul- 
tural Class Book or any 
similar primer. 

(40 marks) 

N.B.— In order to pass, the N.B. — In order to pass, the N.B. — In order to pass, the 
pupil must obtain 4 of the pupil must obtain J of the pupil must obtain J of the 

marks in the compulsory marks in each sub-head marks in each group of 

subjects 1 and 2. and 4 of the aggregate subjects and § of the 

marks of each head of the aggregate marks of the 

compulsory subjects. standard. 


We referred to Vernacular Standard VI, which is the highest development of the 
Bombay course, and is intended to prepare the successful pupil in primary schools for the 
1 ower grades of the public service. The subjects are as follows : 

Compulsory Subjects 

1. (a) Reading, with explanation, the Seventh Departmental Book (inclusive of the 
lessons on the History of Ancient and Modern Europe, and on Natural History 
and Elementary Physics) ; 


OBJECTIVES, CURRICULA AND METHODS 


55 


(b) Syntax, Prosody and Etymology; 

(r) Explanation and recitation of 300 lines of classical vernacular poetry; 

(d) Reading rough current hand. (115 marks) 

2. Writing a report or story in current hand. (100 marks) 

3. (a) Arithmetic, complete. 

(b) Knowledge of the principles and method of arithmetic; or Euclid, Book I. 

(c) Advanced native accounts and book-keeping. (100 marks) 

4. (a) History of India, ancient and modern, with information regarding the system of 

government. 

(b) Geography, Political, Physical and Mathematical; an outline map of India 
to be drawn, (details to be prescribed by the inspector). (100 marks) 

5. Cunningham’s Sanitary Primer (Vernacular Version). (50 marks) 


Optional Subjects 

1. Elementary Drawing, including: 

(a) Free-hand drawing; 

(b) Object and model drawing; 

(c) Practical geometry. 

2. Field instruction in agriculture. 

North-Western Provinces and Oudh: Standards 

In primary. English schools the subjects of instruction are Hindi or Urdu, English 
reading and writing, the elements of grammar, arithmetic, history and geography, and 
simple sanitary rules. In primary vernacular schools the subjects are reading, writing, and 
arithmetic, and the elements of history, geography, sanitation, and mensuration. In some 
schools the boys are taught to read the village accountant’s papers. Besides the lower and 
upper primary examinations prescribed by the Government of India, there is no general 
departmental examination for primary schools. ' ° 

Punjab: Standards 

Th e Py* mar y sc k°°l contains three classes, the course in which comprises no 

English. The following is the work of the third or highest class: third and fourth Urdu 
readers, copies and dictation, first and second Persian readers, arithmetic to compound 
division (money) and maps of the Punjab and India. The upper primary school contains 
two classes and the course may be either English or vernacular. That of the highest class is 
f S u^v° WS j r ln schools the first reader; and in vernacular schools mensuration is 

u s i ute for English. The other subjects are Urdu and Persian selections: grammar, 

and translation arithmetic, including practice, rule-of-three, square measure, 

1 ?- e J est; g e ogr a P h y) including names of the countries of the world, with their capitals 
and cruel natural features; and revision of previous lessons. 


Other Provinces: Standards 

difr-r^ 1 *k e Central Provinces, as in Bombay, the course of studies varies for schools in 
schZu Pa f tS . * co . untr y* Primary instruction is given either in primary vernacular 

claw* SC i n P nmar y departments of middle schools. The latter have only three 
stand^TTi - h u T f ? rmer usua Hy have four and in towns five or six classes. Vernacular 
the 3 • heId to comspond with the lower primary standard and standard IV with 

and arfL P , r ! mary ' , V- the f ? rm F are tau £ ht reading, writing, grammar, geography, 
Under sta^H J udlng mental arithmetic and the four simple and compound rules, 
metic ;i!u d • ar , e tau ? ht reading, writing, grammar, history, geography and arith- 

Prima’rv^rl, i g S1 ™ ple Proportion, vulgar fractions, and native accounts. In Assam 
school/ s ™°° lsar e classed as lower and upper, the latter being also called lower vernacular 
of India r/? t C fo /™ er 1S arranged in strict accordance with the Government 

tional suhW. Utlon °f January 1879, while to the course of the latter a few addi- 

In Coor? rtf a ! e a ^ de , d ln orr ! er to Prepare the pupil for the scholarship examination. 
HaidarahuH A are * ose Prescribed by the Government of India. In the 

for Bombay * gned Dlstncts the course is framed upon the standards already described 

Report of the Indian Education Commission , 1882, pp. 121-124 



ANALYSIS OF CURRICULA IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS 1902-1907 @ 


5 6 


elementary education 


IN INDIA 



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OBJECTIVES, CURRICULA AND 


methods 


57 



which is alternative to PeraLVtaXoseTchooU. B ° yS g ° m? t0 middle vernacular sch °°ls from rural schools 



BASIC EDUCATION 


59 


CHAPTER 4 

Birth and Growth of Basic Education ( 1937 - 61 ) 

I. Origin 

It may be said of Gandhiji that, in the course of his long public 
leadership of India, he touched almost every aspect of Indian life 
and touched nothing that he did not radically attempt to reform. He 
began the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917 and the non-cooperation 
movement in 1920. The khadi movement was inaugurated at 
the same time, although he went on his famous tour throughout 
India, to preach the message of khadi, a little later in 1927. 
After the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and the Civil Disobedience 
Movement in 1932, he began a great campaign against un- 
touchability ; and for the eradication of this great social evil, 
he undertook a whirlwind tour in 1934* After some years, the 
All-India Village Industries Movement was inaugurated for the 
economic regeneration of the people. With all the richness of 
this experience and against the background of his work in 
South Africa, he found that the final solution to the ills of our 
people could be found only through a proper system of edu- 
cation. Basic education was thus his last and most precious 
gift to the nation. 

Although he formulated the scheme of basic education as late 
as in 1937* his perception of its underlying principles was slowly 
taking shape for several years. For instance, khadi and basic 
education were born in a way in a strange experience he had during 
the Orissa famine when he personally organized relief by collecting 
funds, food and clothes and distributing them free. The poor and 
the indigent rushed to him for these gifts. But the more he gave 
them, the more they asked, and gradually they lost their ability and 
willingness to work and a little later, even confidence in themselves 
and self-respect. Gandhiji, therefore, discovered that this charity 
did more harm than good because it destroyed their personality and 
weakened their lives. He also realized that the proper thing to 
give was not food, clothes or money, but work which, in its turn, 


would give them, not only food, clothes or money, but also strength, 
self-confidence and self-respect. 

But what work can one give to millions of poor? Obviously, 
such work should have the qualities of simplicity and availability. 
It should require only a little technical training that can be 
acquired within a few days or weeks and it should fulfil a great and 
abiding need of the people. It should not also involve large invest- 
ment of money. After a good deal of thinking, he found that hand- 
spinning and weaving fulfilled all these requirements: the charkha 
was cheap, spinning was easy and, next only to food, the produc- 
tion of cloth fulfilled the most important need of all people. As he 
expressed it himself: ‘The disease of the masses is not want of 

money so much as want of work. Labour is money. He who 
provides dignified labour for the millions in their cottages, provides 
food and clothing 1 / ‘It is not even poverty that matters so much 
as idleness, which was at first enforced due to lack of work and now 
has become a habit, that matters. Idleness is the root of all evil 
and if that root can be destroyed, most of the evils can be 
remedied 2 / ‘Through chronic famine conditions, the people of 
Orissa have been reduced to beggary. It is a very difficult thing to 
make them work. Revival of spinning is their only hope 3 / 

_ Gandhiji thus said of Orissa is really applicable to the 

entire country. This nation of 440 million people is one of the 
poorest countries of the world and helpless in almost every aspect 
of life, including food and clothing. This abject poverty of 
material wealth, which is also an indication of our want of faith 
m ourselves, is due partly to our laziness and want of application 
and partly to labelling manual work as inferior and relegating it to 
the lower castes. Owing to the encrustation of centuries, our 
social structure degenerated and reflected an ideology which was 
the negation of respect for work by hand. The man who worked 
with his hands and produced wealth by dint of his work, day and 
night, was relegated to the lowest social cadre. The merchant who 
acted as the middleman was deemed higher. The people who 
ought with the sword and did no productive work themselves were 

Mahatma Gandhi: Economics of Khadi , d 120 
* Ibid., p. i 4I . r 

3 Ibid., pp. 93 . 4 . 



6o 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


placed higher still ; and highest of all came the priest, who did no 
work at all. The result was that the lower classes always copied 
the ways of the upper ones ; and, in course of time, work was 
considered derogatory and every one aspired to lead a life free of 
manual labour. Our political and social degradation, our poverty 
and subjection can be traced directly to this mental and social 
degeneration. If India is to rise again, we must create a new type 
of society in which every one will work. Work, by its nature, will 
inspire confidence and strength. A national system of education 
for India which should pave the way for such a society must accept 
this fundamental view of life and the essential place of work in 
society. Gandhiji, however, found that the prevailing system of 
education worked towards exactly the opposite direction with 
disastrous consequences. He said: ‘Whatever may be true of 

other countries, in India at any rate, where more than eighty per 
cent of the population is agricultural and another ten per cent 
industrial, it is a crime to make education merely literary, and to 
make boys and girls unfit for manual work in after-life. Indeed, 
I hold that as the larger part of our time is devoted to labour for 
earning our bread, our children must from their infancy be taught 
the dignity of such labour. Our children should not be so taught as 
to despise labour. It is a sad thing that our school boys look upon 
manual labour with disfavour, if not contempt/ He, therefore, 
desired to have an educational system based on work and on the 
dignity of manual labour. This became the most essential principle 
of his scheme of basic education. 

Gandhiji had thought about this and other allied national 
problems for many years before he formally mentioned them at a 
conference of educationists, summoned in Wardha, in 1937. I had 
the good fortune to be one of them and I well remember how he 
placed the problem of education before the conference. He 
pointed out that the country needed a new type of national educa- 
tion and that such education should be made universally available 
to all the boys and girls of school-going age. This would need 
vast sums of money which could not just be found through the 
usual method of public taxation. It was to solve this financial 
difficulty that he came forward with a revolutionary suggestion. If 
work is to be the main instrument and basis of education, cannot 


BASIC EDUCATION 5i 

this work be utilized in the learning and doing of a continuous 
craft which, in its turn, is capable of creating wealth, capable of 
being measured in terms of money? Gandhiji was convinced that 
this could be done and that the only practical and possible way of 
making education available to all is to make the students earn 
through their work and help to maintain the school. 

After Gandhiji’s speech and the preliminary discussions, the 
conference converted itself into a committee to consider this new 
method of education put forward by him. Many prominent 
educationists of the country including Dr. Zakir Hussain, 
Sri Aryanayakam and Dr. K. T. Shah, many men and women who 
had been doing experiments in national education in various parts 
of India and the ministers of provincial governments participated 
in the discussion and the following resolutions were formulated and 
later on passed unanimously by the conference: 

1. That in the opinion of the conference, free and compulsory education be 
provided for seven years on a nation-wide scale ; 

That the medium of instruction be the mother-tongue 
3. That the conference endorses the proposal made by Mahatma Gandhi that 
the process of education throughout this period should centre round some 
form of manual and productive work and all the other abilities to be deve- 
loped or training to be given should, as far as possible, be integrally related 
to the central handicraft chosen with due regard to the environment of the 
child ; 

4- That the conference expects that this system of education will be gradually 
able to cover the remuneration of teachers. 4 

It may be observed that the conference did not fully endorse 
the ideas of Gandhiji regarding the self-supporting aspect of the 
scheme ; but he accepted the resolution as the first step. Basic 
education may be said to have been formally born with this 
resolution. 

The conference then appointed a committee, under the 
presidentship of Dr. Zakir Hussain, to draw up a detailed syllabus 
on the lines of the above resolutions and to submit it to the 
chairman of the conference. In February 1938, the committee 
su mitted its report to Gandhiji, the chairman of the conference. 
He approved the scheme and placed it before the Working 
Committee of the Indian National Congress for consideration. The 

* Mahatma Gandhi : Basic Education, p. 2 (i. 



62 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


Congress accepted the scheme as its programme of national educa- 
tion in its Haripura session of March 1938, and with a view to 
developing the programme, decided that ‘an All-India Education 
Board to deal with this basic part of education be established in 
order to work out, in a consolidated manner, a programme of basic 
national education and to recommend it for acceptance to those 
who are in control of state or private education/ This was the 
origin of the Hindustani Talimi Sangh. 

II. Philosophy 

In this new ideology of education, work is the pivot on which 
all instruction revolves. This work may be of various kinds. 
Activities involving personal and community cleanliness are fore- 
most in a basic school. Education for the young does not mean 
stuffing impracticable ideas into the minds of children ; it is 
essentially training them in good habits. Thus cleanliness and 
sanitation, practically done and scientifically understood, are the 
beginning of basic education. The daily experiences that every 
child has to undergo such as regular morning evacuation, cleaning 
the teeth, nose and eyes, bathing, physical exercises, washing 
clothes and other daily activities can be exploited for teaching, as 
well as for the inculcation of good habits. In the same way, social 
and religious festivals, weddings and other social events, visits to 
temples and other places can be made useful instruments of 
instruction. Above all, basic education recognizes that useful 
manual labour, through constructive crafts intelligently performed, 
is one of the best means of developing a balanced intellect. 

The objectives of education is not only to turn out good indi- 
viduals, but also socially useful men and women who understand 
their place in, and duty to, the society in which they live. This has 
recently been termed ‘training for citizenship'. No education is 
complete until this important aspect of training is stressed, and 
basic education regards this aspect as an essential part of education. 
This is to be given, not theoretically, but by practical observance 
from the first year at school. And this, in its turn, leads to team 
work and discipline, the lack of which has been our national weak- 
ness. Activities involving social objectives gradually lead children 
to the cultivation of a social sense. They also learn to put the 


BASIC EDUCATION 63 

needs of the community above their own petty pleasures and 
advantages. 

A sharp intellect can be cultivated through other methods, but 
then it may not be socially developed. On the other hand, an 
intellect developed through the medium of socially useful manual 
labour must of necessity become an instrument of service. Mere 
intellectual training ordinarily makes a child individualistic. But 
education through work and activities brings him in contact with 
other children in cooperation with whom he has to work. This 
clearly brings out the social objective, important for healthy 
living, and trains him, not only in a sense of cooperation, but also 
in qualities of leadership. 

Thus basic education represents, not only a new method of 
education, but also a new philosophy of life. It stands for 
the dignity of all human work. It recognizes that wealth is the 
creation of human endeavour and gives the highest place to work 
in its daily activities. It proclaims that there is nothing high or low 
in work itself. Scavenging is not low and lecturing is not high. But 
a man is high or low according to the way in which he does his 
work. The man who does his work efficiently, with a social sense, 
with devotion and unselfishness, is to be respected, whatever 
may be the work he is doing. In the same way, one who does not 
do his allotted work with a sense of duty, efficiency, and devotion, 
must be considered low, whatever be the actual work he may 
be engaged in. 

Here are a few words of Gandhiji himself regarding the salient 
features of basic education: 

The ultimate objective of this New Education is not only a balanced and 
harmonious individual, but also a balanced and harmonious society — a just 
social order in which there is no unnatural dividing line between the haves 
and have-nots and everybody is assured of a living wage and the right 
to freedom. 

By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man 
' body, mind and spirit. Literacy is not the end of education, not even the 
beginning. It is only one of the means whereby men and women can be 
educated. Literacy in itself is no education. I, therefore, begin the child’s 
education by teaching it a useful handicraft. I hold that the highest develop- 
ment of the mind and soul is possible under such a system of education. Only 
handicrafts have to be taught, not merely mechanically as they are taught 
to-day, but scientifically i.e., the child should know the why and wherefore of 
every process. 



6 4 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 


My plan to impart education through the medium of village handicrafts, like 
spinning, carding, etc., is thus conceived as the spearhead of a silent social 
revolution fraught with the most far-reaching consequences. It will provide 
a healthy and moral basis of relationship between the city and the village and 
thus go a long way towards eradicating some of the worst evils of the present 
social insecurity and poisoned relationship between the classes. 

It will mean a new educational technique where progressive self-reliance in 
all aspects of a healthy and balanced life — economic, physical, social, moral 
and cultural— forms the medium of instruction ; and the necessary knowledge 
of subject matter is given, habits and attitudes formed and developed 
through this process. 5 

III. Growth 

The Hindustani Talimi Sangh established its headquarters in 
Sevagram in April 1938 and decided to develop the experiment 
through two agencies: (1) Private educational institutions, parti- 

cularly those with a national background ; and (2) the State 
Departments of Education. The first group included institutions 
like the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, Andhra Jatiya Kalasala of 
Masulipatam, the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth of Poona and the 
Gujarat Vidyapeeth of Ahmedabad which enthusiastically came for- 
ward with their cooperation. The first institution of basic educa- 
tion, the Vidya Mandir Training School, was opened in Wardha 
in 1938 to train teachers and steps were taken for the introduction 
of basic education as an experimental measure by the Govern- 
ments of Central Provinces, United Provinces, Bihar, Bombay 
and Kashmir. 

It was a misfortune that, within a short time of this good 
beginning, the Congress Governments resigned in 1939 and the 
Congress was again involved in a life and death struggle for 
independence. The caretaker governments that took their place 
were generally apathetic; and consequently many of the basic 
schools started by the state governments were closed, while most 
of the others were allowed to continue in a state of suspended 
animation. Some of the institutions started by Gandhian workers, 
however, continued to work out the implications of this new 
and revolutionary ideology of education under the inspiration of 
Gandhiji. 

In spite of these reverses, the soundness of the underlying 


5 Basic National Education (published by the Hindustani Talimi Sangh), pp. 5-8. 


BASIC EDUCATION 


6 5 

principles of basic education impressed itself on the Government 
of the day, and the plan for Post-war Educational Development in 
Indta prepared by the Central Advisory Board of Educate in 1<M1 
accepted the principles underlying basic education (except for the 
self-supporting aspect), and recommended that 'a system of universal 
compulsory and free education for all boys and girls between the 
age, of six and fourteen should be introduced as speedily a! 
possible, though in view of the practical difficulty of recruiting the 
requisite supply of trained teachers, i, may not be possible to 
complete it in less than forty years- and that ‘the character of the 
instruction be provided should follow the general lines laid down 
in the reports of the two committees of the Board on Basic 
Education . The Report, however, add, a note to distinguish it, 

^ Wha ‘ * ' he ‘ Wardha 

IS™™ «£ ttZZTL'ZZi 

canonists all over the world. At the lower stages, the activity 

ttoS/T,!!? 7 r T : or 

general conception TlT ° n ' C curncuIum will be harmonised with this 
?, fn Id? f • ee R S by themsch 'es can no longer be regarded 

unable to 'I'm ^ eqU1 P ment for efficient citizenship. The Board, however, are 
able to endorse the view that education at any stage, and particularly in 

:s«T; r ,r" M ? ™ 

respect is that , i ^ !? Y ^ PUpi ’ S- The m ° St which can be expected in this 

rne t e .i e, “ U , COver the cost of the additional materials and equip- 

ment required for practical work. 8 4 “ 

on Nation iVri rCleaSe ° f Gandhi J i from P ris on, a conference 
rev!! Tt EduCatlon was called at Sevagram in January 1945. It 

reco L th l Pr0§r r ° f thC SChemC SinCC itS ****** in and 
the e^n satlsf action that, in spite of adverse circumstances, 

eener ? ° ^ education had not suffered a set-back, that 

worth SCh£me had increased ’ a nd that its intrinsic 

faction had , a “ ained a Wlder recognition. It also expressed satis- 
etton with the progress of basic education as regards its influence 
on th e personality of the child, both as an individual and as 
cmzen. The conference also appealed to all those engaged in 

’ IbidTp fi an ° f Educational Development in India, p. , 2 . 

8 Ibid , p. y. 

5 



66 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION 


6 7 


constructive work or those who conducted institutions of national 
education to utilise the opportunity they had of introducing basic 
education. 

The most important resolution was moved, however, by 
Shri Mashruwala. It said: 

The Conference forwards the following resolution to the Hindustani Talimi 
Sangh for consideration. New Education or Nai Talim should be so organized 
that a normal adult pupil in village earns enough wages during his period 
of training to defray his cost of education. This is possible only if educational 
institutions in the villages become producers of articles of use and at the 
same time the articles are of true educational value. To this end the economic 
order of the country has to be simultaneously revolutionized. This double 
revolution in economy and education should result in a considerable and all- 
round enhancement of wages for both ordinary and the so-called intelligent 
labour and skilled artisanship. The production of food, clothing, dwelling 
and other important necessaries of life should be considerably increased ; 
technical research should aim at making decentralised and small-scale produc- 
tion economic without adding to the labour of the villagers. The primary 
object of production should be self-sufficiency of the nation and providing 
means of happiness ‘unto the last’ instead of earning profit and interest in 
trade and commerce. 9 

The conference also considered new orientation given to 
Nai Talim by Gandhi ji as ‘education in all stages of life from cradle 
to grave through manual work and rural handicrafts’. Three 
sessions of the conference were devoted to the discussions of pre- 
basic, post-basic and adult education and the following resolutions 
were passed: 

1. This conference recommends that the Hindustani Talimi Sangh should 
give full consideration to the question of post-basic education as a system of 
complete education in itself and draft (1) suitable syllabi for part-time conti- 
nuation courses for those who wish to live a fuller life and acquire further 
proficiency in their craft, (2) devise a diversified system of institutions to pro- 
vide whole-time education for various aptitude-types on the basis of education 
through work, keeping in view the needs of national life. 

2. This conference believes that, as the scheme of basic national education 
has now been worked for seven years, it is appropriate that the task of edu- 
cating the children of the country under seven years of age should be taken 
up and recommends that the Hindustani Talimi Sangh appoint a committee to 
draw up a scheme of pre-basic education which will serve as foundation for 
basic education. 

3. This conference accepts the main recommendations of the report of the 
Adult Education Sub-committee and recommends to the Hindustani Talimi 
Sangh that an Adult Education Committee be appointed to draw up a scheme 
of national adult education on the lines suggested in the report. 10 

9 Seven Years of Work, Eighth Annual Report of Nai Talim, p. 2 7, 

10 Ibid., pp. 27-28. 


IV. Development 

In 1944, the total number of basic institutions in the whole 
country was only 269, basic schools numbering 261 and training 
centres 8. The significant growth in basic schools came only when 
the Congress Governments were re-established in 1946. Five years 
later, at the commencement of the First Five-Year Plan, the total 
number of basic schools in the country was 33, 730. These included 
31,979 basic schools of Uttar Pradesh (where the State Government 
termed all their primary schools as basic schools), and only 1,751 basic 
schools in the rest of the country. If it is remembered that the 
total number of elementary schools in the country was 2,23,267, it 
will be evident that basic education had not made much progress, 
except probably in institutions for preparing teachers (of the total 
of 782 such institutions, 114 were basic). 

During the First Plan, a systematic effort was made to develop 
basic education, and a number of schemes were worked out on an 
all-India basis. Consequently, basic education began to make 
progress in almost all the states. The number of institutions for 
training of teachers, for junior and senior basic schools, rose from 
1 1 4 to 5 2 5 > an d this accounted for 56 per cent of the total number 
of such institutions. In addition to these, there were 24 training 
institutions at post-graduate level. The number of basic schools 
also increased from 33,730 to 47,813, of which the basic schools out- 
side Uttar Pradesh numbered 15,915. The overall percentage of 
basic schools to the total number of elementary schools also rose from 
0.9 per cent to 6.1 per cent (excluding Uttar Pradesh). 

This progress of basic education was not only maintained, but 
increased during the Second Five-Year Plan. The number of basic 
schools increased by more than double i.e. from 47,813 to about 
1,00,000 — an increase of about 52,000 schools as compared to the 
increase of only 14,000 during the First Plan. The teacher is the 
pivot of any system of education and the more so in basic education 
which is a radical departure, both in theory and practice, from the 
traditional pattern of schooling. Another significant achievement 
of this period has, therefore, been to convert, by the end of the 
Second Plan, 70 per cent of the training institutions for elementary 
teachers to the basic pattern and it is expected that they would all 
be so converted by the end of the Third Plan. 



68 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION 


6 9 


1 he following table shows the progress of basic education in 
the three Five-Year Plans in a concise form: 


TABLE 5 : PROGRESS OF BASIC EDUCATION IN THE THREE 
FIVE-YEAR PLANS 



1950-51 

1955-56 

1960-61 

A 

1965-66 

A 




{ ■> 
(Estimates) 

< \ 
(Targets) 

Junior Basic Schools 

33,379 

42,971 

1,00,000 

1,53,000 

Junior Basic Schools as percentage of 
the total number of Primary (includ- 
ing Junior Basic) Schools. 

15.9 

15.4 

29.2 

36.9 

Senior Basic Schools 

388 

4,842 

11,940 

16,700 

Senior Basic Schools as percentage of 
Middle (including Senior Basic) 
Schools 

2.9 

22.3 

30.2 

28.9 

Children in Basic Schools as percentage 
of the total number of children in 
classes I-VIII. 

13.1 

17.2 

23.2 

Not known 

Basic Training Schools 

114 

520 

715 

1,424 

Basic Training Schools as percentage 
of the total number of Training 
Schools 

15 

56 

70 

100 


V. Self-supporting Aspect 

No aspect of basic education has been attacked so violently as 
this. Even when Gandhiji made his suggestion that basic schools 
must earn their expenses and become self-sufficient, a ‘professor’ 
attacked it in virulent terms as follows: ‘Let us not delude our- 

selves into believing that self-supporting workshop schools manu- 
facturing and marketing goods will impart education. In actual 

practice, it will be nothing but legalised child labour 

To sum up, it is bad economy to adopt a short-sighted policy, which 
will make the schools solvent and the nation bankrupt 11 / This 
was also the view of a good number of people who were suspicious 
about the possible repercussions of accepting so revolutionary a 

11 Mahatma Gandhi, Basic Education , pp. 39-40. 


theory. In this connection, it must be pointed out that even the 
original sponsors of the scheme, while they expected that the 
products of the crafts introduced in basic schools will have an 
economic value, did not say that such self-sufficiency is the essence 
of basic education. Even the Report of the Zakir Hussain Com- 
mittee declared: ‘We wish to make it quite clear that we consider 

the scheme of basic education outlined by the Wardha conference 
to be sound in itself. Even if it is not self-supporting in any sense, 
it should be accepted as a matter of sound educational policy and 
as an urgent measure of educational reconstruction 12 / This was 
also the view of even Gandhiji who, in spite of his stress on the self- 
sufficiency aspect of basic education, said that ‘the test of success 
in basic education is not its self-supporting character, but whether 
the whole man has been drawn out, through the teaching of handi- 
crafts in a scientific manner 15 / 

The aim of all education is to draw out the capacities and 
talent in every individual so that he may be helped to attain the 
highest degree of self-expression. Basic education seeks to use a 
constructive craft as an instrument to achieve this purpose. In 
basic education, the highly valued social qualities of team work, 
good neighbourliness and community-consciousness, along with 
efficient knowledge of a useful craft, are developed. The knowledge 
of craft should not be merely theoretical, but should also involve 
efficient performance. To learn to perform any task we have under- 
taken well and efficiently is one of the fundamental objectives of 
educational practice. The student can prove his efficiency in craft 
only by his ability to produce things of good quality, which implies 
that the things he produces have economic value. This is what 
Gandhiji meant when he said: ‘The self-supporting part should 

be the logical corollary of the fact that the pupil has learnt the use 
of every one of his faculties/ 

To examine this matter in detail, the Government of India, 
at the instance of the Central Advisory Board of Education, 
appointed a Committee consisting of two officers, who inspected the 
basic schools in the various parts of India. They examined the 

12 Basic National Education , Report of the Zakir Hussain Committee and the 
Detailed Syllabus, pp. 16-17. 

13 Mahatma Gandhi ; op. cit ., p. 51. 



7 ° ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

amount of work done by the basic schools, their economic value 
and also whether such work affected academic standards. Their 
report, known after them as the Pires-Lakhani Report, makes it 
clear that the development of productive capacity was consistent 
with a sound education. It also observed that, for the success of 
the productive aspect of basic education, the following conditions 
are absolutely necessary: 

(i) The basic school should consist of eight classes and 
should not be a truncated basic school of five classes only. 

(ii) Every class should have its full quota of 30 students. 

(Hi) Basic schools should be well-equipped with the neces- 
sary tools and appliances, as well as sufficient land and 
livestock, in the case of agricultural basic schools. 

(iv) They should also be staffed and supervised by well- 
trained persons having faith in the objective of self- 
sufficient and self-supporting education. 14 

The Committee on the Productive Aspect of Basic Education 
considered this Report and unanimously came to the conclu- 
sion, that it was essential to give due importance to the self- 
supporting aspect of basic education and, on the basis of the data 
and the material collected, there was justification for the Central 
Advisory Board of Education for modifying the views expressed 
by them in their report of 1944 and to recommend to the Govern- 
ment the proper implementation of this aspect of the Scheme.’ 
The Committee added that the scholastic side of the school work 
had not suffered in spite of the time given to the craft and that, 
from the wider educational point of view, the children had actually 
profited a good deal from this type of education. In view of the 
satisfactory position of their academic knowledge, it was suggested 
that the scholars trained in basic schools should be enabled to get 
admission, both to the higher grades of secondary education and 
to the University, without difficulty. 

The Central Advisory Board of Education considered the 
Report of the Committee in 1952 and expressed the view ‘that the 
element of craft work in basic education is of such educa- 


14 Pires-Lakhani Report, para 6. 


BASIC EDUCATION 


7 1 


tional importance and value that, even if no economic considera- 
tions were involved, it is necessary to replace ordinary primary 
education by basic education in a planned manner. In carrying 
out this programme, special attention of the state governments 
should be drawn to the fact that a system of education cannot be 
considered as basic education unless (a) it provides an integrated 
course including both the junior and the senior stages, and ( b ) it 
places adequate emphasis on craft work, both its educational and 
productive aspects 15 / 

In spite of these findings, however, there is a great deal of scep- 
ticism about the advisability of stressing this aspect of earning in 
basic schools. At the time this idea was put forward, there was a 
foreign government which was not prepared to spend the needed 
amount on education. With independence, the position has 
changed. The State has now assumed responsibility, under a 
specific Article in the Constitution, to provide compulsory and 
universal education for the children in the age group 6-14. In 
view of this, though basic schools emphasize that crafts should be 
done efficiently, the need to be self-supporting through craft work 
does not exist any more. Many state governments have, therefore, 
taken the view that economic returns from the labour of the pupils 
should be utilised for their own benefit, that is, in such pro- 
grammes as providing mid-day meals and school uniforms for 
indigent children. 

VI. Clarification of the Concept 

It was unfortunate that basic education was misunderstood by 
a large number of people, even at the beginning. In spite of its 
having been accepted as the national policy by the central and 
state governments, the misunderstanding still continues in a 
variety of ways. People who were wedded to orthodox views on 
education, and who could not think on progressive lines, considered 
that Gandhiji’s ideas of education were both impractical and un- 
desirable. The idea that education could be made self-supporting 
was enough for them to condemn basic education as impossible. 
There were others who were opposed to the Congress. That basic 

EducaU r0Ce€ ^ n ^ S ^^ ne ^ een ^ Meeting of the Central Advisory Board of 



72 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 

education was announced as Congress policy by a resolution of the 
Indian National Congress was sufficient for them to be prejudiced 
against it. Even later, when the various governments accepted it 
on the recommendation of their expert committees on education, 
this prejudice still continued to linger. 

Certain enthusiasts of basic education have done more harm 
to basic education than its opponents. This is one of the strange 
instances in which some people, by their own loyalty, enthusiasm 
and zeal, do more harm than good to their cause. I here refer to 
the people who thought that mere introduction of spinning into an 
elementary school constituted basic education. Nothing was 
farther from the meaning and purpose of basic education. If mere 
spinning was basic education, the millions of men and women who 
are spinning nearly eight hours a day should be considered to have 
had basic education. They are certainly experts in that craft, but 
that does not, by itself, form basic education. Gandhiji made this 
abundantly clear on many occasions. He said: 

I want you to appreciate the difference between this and basic education. 

carpenter teaches me carpentry. I shall learn it mechanically from him, 
and as a result, X shall know the uses of various tools. But that will hardly 
develop my intellect. If the same thing is taught to me by one who has had 
a scientific training in carpentry, he will stimulate my intellect too. Not only 
shall I then have become an expert carpenter, but also an engineer. For, the 
expert will have taught me mathematics, also told me the differences between 
various kinds of timber, the places they come from, giving me thus a 
knowledge of geography and also a little knowledge of agriculture. He will 
also have taught me to draw models of my tools and given me a knowledge of 
elementary geometry and arithmetic. Manual training should thus be given 
side by side with intellectual training. In basic education the principal 
means of Stimulating the intellect should be manual training . 18 

There were also other factors such as the forced and far-fetched 
correlation sometimes practised in basic schools, the place of books 
and other activities in basic education about which ideas were not 
clear. The concepts that Gandhiji introduced were so different 
from the ordinarily accepted views on education, that their various 
aspects had not been properly understood in the different parts of 
the country. The situation, therefore, called for a clarification of 
the concept of basic education. This was done by the Government 
of India m 1956 in a small but valuable publication entitled The 

Mahatma Gandhi, Educational Reconstruction , p. 17. 


BASIC EDUCATION 


73 


Concept of Basic Education. The following extract from this publi- 
cation will give the salient features of basic education: 

The term ‘Basic Education’ has been interpreted and sometimes mis- 
interpreted, in a variety of ways. This is, to some extent, understandable 
because it is a comparatively recent development and its concept and technique 
are still in the making. It seems necessary, therefore, to state clearly what we 
mean by Basic Education. 

Broadly speaking, we would like to point out that the concept of Basic Edu- 
cation is the same as that defined in the Report of the Basic National Education 
Committee (The Zakir Hussain Committee) and elucidated by the Central 
Advisory Board of Education. It is dear that the basic principles and 
techniques,^ as made out in the Report, should guide and shape educational 
reconstruction in India. So far as the provision of eight years of compulsory 
universal schooling and the use of the mother-tongue as the medium of 
instruction are concerned, there is no difference of opinion about them. They 
have now come to be universally accepted and need no further elucidation 
except in so far as it may be necessary to stress the intrinsic wholeness of the 
entire period of basic education, covering the junior as well as the senior basic 
grades. The other implications and features of basic education that need to 
be clarified and stressed are the following: 

1. Basic education, as conceived and explained by Mahatma Gandhi, is 
essentially an education for life, and what is more, an education 
through life. It aims at creating eventually a social order free from 
exploitation and violence. That is why productive, creative and socially 
useful work in which all boys and girls may participate, irrespective of 
any distinction of caste or class, is placed at the very centre of basic 
education. 

2- The effective teaching of a basic craft, thus becomes an essential part 
of education at this stage, as productive work, done under proper condi- 
tions not only makes the acquisition of much related knowledge more 
concrete and realistic but also adds a powerful contribution to the deve- 
lopment of personality and character and instils respect and love for all 
socially useful work. It is also to be dearly understood that the sale 
of products of craftwork will meet some part of the expenditure 
incurred in running the school or that the products will be used by 
the school children for getting a mid-day meal or a school uniform 
or help to provide some of the school furniture and equipment, 
o- As there has been controversy and difference of opinion regarding the 
position of craft work in basic schools, it is necessary to state clearly 
that the fundamental objective of basic education is nothing less than 
the development of the child’s total personality which will include 
productive efficiency as well. In order to ensure that the teaching of 
the basic craft is efficient and its educative possibilities are fully rea- 
lized, we must insist that the articles made should be of good quality, 
as good as children at that stage of their development can make them 
socially useful and, if necessary, saleable. The acquisition of skills and 
the love for good craftsmanship have deeper educative significance 
than merely playing with the tools and raw materials which is usually 
encouraged in all good activity schools. This productive aspect should 



74 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION 


75 


in no case be relegated to the background as has been usually the 
case so far, because directly as well as indirectly, efficiency in the craft 
practised undoubtedly contributes to the all-round development of the 
child. It sets up before children high standards of achievement and 
gives them the right kind of training in useful habits and attitudes like 
purposeful application, concentration, persistence and thoughtful 
planning. While it may not be possible to lay down specific targets for 
productivity at this stage, it should be the teacher’s endeavour to explore 
its economic possibilities fully with the emphatic stipulation that this 
does not in any way conflict with the educational aims and objectives 
already defined. However, it has to be stated that, in the upper classes 
of junior basic schools and in the senior basic schools, it should not be 
difficult for states to lay down certain minimum targets of production 
in the light of carefully assessed experiences. 

4. In the choice of basic crafts which are to be integrated into school work, 
we should adopt a liberal approach and make use of such crafts as 
have significance from the point of view of intellectual content, provide 
scope for progressive development of knowledge and practical efficiency. 
The basic craft must be such as will fit into the natural and 
social environment of the school and hold within it the maximum of 
educational possibilities. The idea that has been wrongly created in 
the minds of some people that the mere introduction of a craft in a 
school, e.g,, spinning, can make it a basic school does grave injustice to 
the concept of basic education. 

5. In basic education, as indeed, in any good scheme of education, 
knowledge must be related to activity, practical experience and obser- 
vation. To ensure this, basic education rightly postulates that the 
study of the curricular content should be intelligently related to three 
main centres of correlation viz., craft work, the natural environment 
and the social environment. The well-trained and understanding 
teacher should be able to integrate most of the knowledge that he wishes 
to impart to one or the other of these centres of correlation, which form 
important and natural foci of interest for the growing child. If he 
is not able to do so, it either means that he lacks the necessary ability 
or that the curriculum has been burdened with items of knowledge 
which are not really important and significant at that particular stage. 
It should also be realized, however, that there may be certain items 
in the syllabus which cannot be easily correlated directly with anv of 
the three above centres. In such cases, there should be no objection 
to these being taught according to the methods of teaching adopted in 
any good school. This means that, even in the case of such lessons, 
the principle of interest and motivation and the value of expression-work 
will be utilised. In any case, forced and mechanical ‘association’ which 
pass for correlation in many schools should be carefully avoided. 

6. The emphasis on productive work and crafts in basic schools should 
not be taken to mean that the study of books can be ignored. The 
basic scheme does postulate that the book is not the only or the main 
avenue to knowledge and culture, and that at this age, properly organized 
productive work can in many ways contribute more richly both to the 


acquisition of knowledge and the development of personality. But the 
value of the book, both as a source of additional systematic knowledge 
and of pleasure cannot be denied and a good library is as essential in 
a baric school as in any other type of good school. 

7. The basic scheme envisages a close integration between the school and 
the community so as to make education as well as the children more social- 
minded and cooperative. It endeavours to achieve this, first, by 
organizing the school itself as a living and functioning community — with 
its social and cultural programmes and other activities— secondly, by 
encouraging students to participate in the life around the school and 
in organizing various types of social service to the local community. 
Student self-government is another important feature in basic education 
which should be envisaged as a continuous programme of training in 
responsibility and in the democratic way of living. In this way, the 
basic school not only helps in cultivating qualities of self-reliance, co- 
operation and respect for dignity of labour but also becomes a vital 
factor in the creation of a dynamic social order. 

8. Basic education should no longer be regarded as meant exclusively for 
the rural areas. It should be introduced equally in urban areas both 
because of its intrinsic suitability and also to remove the impression 
that it is some kind of inferior education designed only for the village 
children. For this purpose, necessary modifications may have to be 
made in the choice of basic crafts for urban schools and even in the 
syllabus but the general ideas and methods of basic education should 
remain the same. 17 

The question has been asked whether, in a machine age like 
the present, instruction through such crafts as spinning, weaving or 
carpentry is suitable. That the Sage of Sevagram, who was the 
founder of basic education, stood unequivocally for decentralised 
industries needs no repetition. He believed in the revival of cottage 
industries as a permanent and the only method of enriching the 
people in our country. But apart from it and even otherwise, basic 
education should equip our boys and girls better than a mere scho- 
lastic education. In the ordinary schools, where education is mainly 
through books, children rarely use their hands and feet and so their 
limbs have never been developed. This training cannot by any 
means be considered suitable for the machine age referred to above. 
But on the other hand, the children in basic schools are being 
trained in the skilful use of their limbs. They develop an intelli- 
gent use of their hands both in social activities and in the operation 
of the tools they are handling. And so, judged by any standard, 
they will be found superior to others even in the operation of 
machines. 

17 The Concept of Basic Education , pp. 2-7, 1957. 



7 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION 


77 


Thus it will be seen that basic education is based on the funda- 
mental principles of the educative value of manual work. Useful 
manual labour intelligently performed is an excellent means of deve- 
loping a balanced intellect. A mere intellectual education without 
a corresponding cultivation of a social sense, results in the creation 
of selfish exploiters in society. A balanced intellect presupposes the 
harmonious development of body, mind and soul. That is the 
foundation of high character. An intellect that is developed 
through the medium of socially useful labour will normally develop 
into an instrument of service to the community. This great prin- 
ciple is now being recognized in a great measure throughout the pro- 
gressive countries in the world. And so, other things apart, basic 
education, when properly worked, will stand out as a unique method 
of education that will develop the best in the child socially and 
intellectually, and make him a useful member of the society in 
which he lives. 

VII. Orientation Programme 

In order to assess the various basic schools which had come into 
existence in the different parts of India, an Assessment Committee 
was appointed under the chairmanship of Shri G. Ramachandran. 
Its report gives an assessment of the progress of basic education in 
the country till the end of the First Plan and it makes several very 
important recommendations on the lines of which the programme 
of basic education is being developed at present. 

The Committee, which travelled throughout the country and 
observed the working of basic and non-basic schools, expressed 
satisfaction at the general progress shown by basic schools. It said: 

Wherever basic education has come into one of the older schools, even if only 
imperfectly, it has brought about a change for the better in some directions. 
Children are more alert, more full of questions and more eager to know 
everything, a little more resourceful and braver and certainly more concerned 
with their surroundings. We visited also some non-basic schools, not far 
away from the basic schools we saw, and we talked to children of both the 
sets of schools, asking the same questions and testing them more or less in the 
same manner. Except in a few cases, basic school children generally came 
off better. In any comparison of average basic schools with average non-basic 
schools, it was clear, that the former have improved the character and habits 
of the children, their resourcefulness, capacity to do things and to question 
and understand matters a little better. It was not possible for us to make a 
full study in comparison ; but our impressions are clear. In the case of the 


teachers, there can be no doubt whatever, that those trained in basic education 
make better teachers whether they work in basic schools or non-basic schools. 
If basic schools do not generally furnish a better picture, it is largely due to 
the fact that educational administration still remains unimaginative and unable 
to keep pace with the fresh demands of a new situation. 18 

The Committee made a variety of recommendations such as 
improving administration, training of administrative personnel, 
production of guide and reference books for teachers and handbooks 
for administrators, conduct of seminars and conferences and the 
establishment of a Central Institute of Basic Education. The most 
important of its recommendations, however, was the ‘Orientation 
Programme' whose object was to orientate all schools to the basic 
pattern in a snap and short-range programme. Prior to 1956, the 
usual method adopted to develolp basic education was the compact 
area method' under which a small contiguous area was selected for 
the experiment and an attempt was made to convert every school 
in that area into a basic school. The Assessment Committee came 
to the conclusion that the compact area method ‘has tended merely 
to create small patches of basic schools here and there without these 
patches multiplying or spreading quickly or extensively enough. 
The creation of these patches has led to their remaining in that 
condition far too long without affecting the surrounding over- 
whelmingly vast area of elementary education which is non-basic. 
Also this has resulted in some special conditions being created 
which make basic education look artificial 19 .' The Committee, 
therefore, suggested that ‘the whole of elementary education should 
be plunged into a programme of conversion, step by step, which 
should be completed within a stipulated period 20 .' This was to be 
achieved by replacement of the vertical process of ‘converting' non- 
basic schools towards the basic pattern, by the horizontal process of 
‘orienting' non-basic schools to the basic pattern. This orientation' 
was to be achieved by introducing, in all the non-basic schools, 
activities of basic schools and simple crafts which neither involve 
much expenditure nor require any specially trained teachers but 
which, all the same, would reduce the gap between the basic and 
non-basic schools and enrich the curriculum of the latter. 

18 The Report of the Assessment Committee on Basic Education , pp. 24-35. 

19 Ibid ., p. 4. 

20 Ibid., p. 5. 



78 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION 


79 


For giving effect to this orientation programme, the Committee 
made the following suggestions: 

(0 Introduce activities like Safai, kitchen gardening etc. in all schools, teach- 
ing children to participate in them intelligently and appreciatively. 

(“) Introduce community self-government of children through their own ‘Aam 
Sabhas' and their own elected Ministries to develop a sense of responsibility 
and leadership. The Ministries should be elected often enough in the year 
to give everybody a chance in small batches to undertake various activities and 
programme under their own management. 

(iii) Introduce cultural and recreational activities planned and executed by 
children under the guidance of teachers, in order to produce physical fitness 
and mental happiness and also to inculcate a growing sense of aesthetic values 
and social cohesion. 

(iv) Introduce simple useful crafts, the doing of which can be regulated to 
suit the capacity of the children from year to year and to stimulate the skills 
of their fingers and their interest in producing little things which will be of 
use to them. These may be local crafts or others which will cost almost 
nothing in the earliest years. Later, such crafts should be productive in a 
more real sense. 

(v) Introduce the elements of extension work by bringing the children into 
slowly increasing and fuller touch with the community through useful activities 
and suitable programmes. This will aim at steadily enlarging the area of the 
child’s human interests. 

While organizing these activities, the Committee suggested that 
the following principles should be borne in mind: 

(a) The choice of an activity should arise out of the natural and developing 
life of the learner and it should be directed towards a purpose recognized as 
necessary by him and with a decision on his part to carry it out as fully as 
possible. 

(b) The activity chosen should be such that the learner will derive emotional 
satisfaction from doing it ; it will result in gaining for the doer knowledge 
which he needs and produce something which fulfils a real want felt by him, 
thus stimulating him to persist in doing it better and better. 

(c) It is important for the teacher to cultivate the creative atmosphere of 
friendly group relationship among the pupils and to bestow the closest atten - 
tion on their feelings and attitudes so that what is done is done in such a 
manner as to enable them to accept under standingly the new process of acti- 
vities and behaviour. 

(d) The learner must actually engage himself in all the precise processes of 
carrying out the activity and for this, he must live that way and accept the 
fact that such activity is right for him. 

(e) The why and how of what he does, must become more and more clear 
to him and also acceptable to him as contributing to his purpose and helping 
him to carry out other related purposes which he considers important. 

(f) There should be provision of facilities for each individual and for the 
group to evaluate the many and varied outcomes of an activity. 


These recommendations have been accepted by all the state 
governments and the programme is now being implemented in all 
parts of the country. 

VIII* Causes for Slow Progress 

Mention may be made here of the findings of a research project 
completed recently by the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya 
Teachers College, Coimbatore, on the causes of resistance to basic 
education. Questionnaires were issued to a state-wide sample of 
headmasters of basic schools, non-basic schools, basic training 
schools, and inspecting officers. Answers were received from all 
these categories of persons numbering 250, 333, 33 and 50 respec- 
tively. A scale of public opinion was also administered to 1,081 
persons. The research staff also visited a large number of basic 
schools and training schools and interviewed the teachers and others. 
Their findings throw interesting light on the reasons for the slow 
progress of basic education. 

The areas of dissatisfaction fall mainly into three groups. First 
comes the belief that academic standards are lower in basic schools. 
Craft work is another area which meets with general resistance. The 
third area of dissatisfaction is want of facilities to do craft work and 
to conduct other aspects of school work efficiently. Closely connect- 
ed with this is the slowness with which students from basic schools 
were recognised for admission into high schools. In many states, 
even today, students from post-basic schools are not eligible for 
admission to university courses. 

According to the findings of this study, the alleged fall in 
academic standards in basic schools is ‘a belief rather than a scienti- 
fically established ‘fact*. But it is important to realize that it is 
held, not only by the general public, but also by headmasters of 
high schools. The following specific reasons are advanced as to 
why academic learning is adversely affected in basic schools ; absence 
of text-books ; time is taken up by other activities ; the method of 
correlation is difficult ; sufficient number of guide books are not 
available ; practice in the 3 R’s is less ; memorization is reduced ; 
there is no sequence in learning ; and basic education is not suited 
for home work. The public expect the school to give a formal 
academic type of education. They judge the school by the amount 



8o 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


of bookish home work given and by the pupils' carrying text-books 
to and from the school. They ask: How can they teach without 

books? It is also felt that many teachers are not competent 
enough to do without text-books. In spite of the introduction of 
some of the progressive elements in evaluation, the examination and 
promotion pattern have a large element of the tradition, and this, 
in turn, affects the spirit of the scheme. Many teachers find corre- 
lated teaching difficult. Imperfect and misunderstood correlation 
is another reason for fall in standards. It is, however, gratifying to 
note that many kinds of experiences are used for correlation ; 
cultural festivals and social environment coming first, natural en- 
vironment second, main craft and subsidiary crafts, third. 

Coming to the other areas of resistance, it is felt that too much 
time is allotted to craft work and that it interferes with studies. A 
few even believe that there is nothing except craft work in bksic 
schools. Many people feel that craft work is not necessary in the 
school. Fatigue in craft work is said to affect the pupils adversely. 
Dislike or disbelief in craft work is another reason operating with 
the elders. 

One of the major problems with reference to craft relates to 
administrative implementation. There is a tendency to look up to 
the government for supplying the craft materials, tools and other 
accessories and to take care of the produce. Recently, in some 
states, a system of decentralization has been attempted through 
sanction of outright grants and holding the schools responsible for 
selling the product and continuing craft work. Even then, most 
basic schools have to get raw materials from a central craft store and 
they have to sell the hanks at the khadi stores. Many headmasters 
have complained that they have to make several trips spending a lot 
of money, passing through cumbersome administrative procedures, 
neglecting school work, selling hanks at reduced price and experi- 
encing many technical difficulties. The Report adds: 

It would be unfair to close an account of a study of these resistances without 
mention of the improvement that has taken place in schools after the introduc- 
tion of basic education. Several good traits have been developed in children. 
The school programme has improved in several ways and has become more 
active. The celebrations of festivals in particular is said to be a very welcome 
feature. Several desirable changes in teachers have been noted. The training 
schools are buzzing with activity. The desirable changes may be said to out- 


BASIC EDUCATION 


81 


weigh the undesirable ones. There is also some evidence that the basic 
school programme has started influencing the non -basic schools. 

A number of non-basic schools appear to give regular citizenship training. 
Many have already introduced one or other aspects of citizenship. Many of 
them devote at least some time for school cleaning. 

The co-existence of basic education and traditional education is itself one of 
the serious obstacles against the progress of basic education. While basic 
education works for removing the gulf between manual work and intellectual 
work, traditional education stands for status quo. The sooner a single 
system of education on the basis of accepted social ideals is established, the 
better will it be for the country. The orientation programme suggested by 
the Assessment Committee is a step in this direction . 21 

IX. The Task Ahead 

Reorganization of school education along basic lines has been 
a key programme since the First Plan. During the Third Plan, it is 
proposed to convert about 57,760 schools into basic schools, to orient 
the remaining schools to the basic pattern, to remodel all training 
institutions along basic lines, to establish basic schools in urban 
areas, and to link up basic education with the development activities 
of each local community. 

Progress towards fully developed basic schools will inevitably 
be spread over a long period, since the number of elementary schools 
is large and the majority of the existing teachers have yet to be 
trained in the techniques of basic education. By way of preparation 
for conversion into basic schools, a programme for orienting all 
existing schools to the basic pattern has been initiated already 
This aims at the adoption of a common syllabus in all basic and 
non-basic schools and the introduction of simple crafts and activities 
like social service, community living, and cultural and recreational 
programmes, which do not involve much expenditure or require 
teachers fully trained in basic education. With a view to imple- 
menting the process of orientation, it is proposed that schools should 
be given simple equipment needed for the purpose and teachers 
who have not been trained in basic education should be given short 
orientation courses. 

Perhaps the most important measure for the expansion of basic 
education is the provision of large facilities for the training of 
teachers for basic schools and the reorganisation of existing training 

31 Unpublished report of the study by the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, 
Teachers College, Coimbatore. 

6 



82 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION 


83 


centres along basic lines. At the end of the Second Plan, elementary 
school teachers were being trained in 1307 institutions, of which 
70 per cent were already organized on the basic pattern. By the 
end of the Third Plan, the number of training institutions will 
increase to 1424 and all of them will impart training on basic lines, 
the number of pupil teachers being about 200,000 as compared to 
135,000 in 1960-61. For teachers who have not been trained in 
basic education, short-term courses of training in the simpler aspects 
of basic education are to be provided. A factor limiting the expan- 
sion of basic education is that it has been largely confined to rural 
areas. A number of experimental basic schools are, therefore, pro- 
posed to be set up in urban areas, so that the problems of basic 
schools in urban areas can be clearly identified and solutions found 
for them in cooperation with training colleges. 

Basic education has been worked on a country-wide basis only 
at the junior and senior basic stages. The number of post-basic 
schools is very small. The principles underlying basic education 
have yet to make their impact on university education. That there 
is need for it was realised by the University Education Commission 
which said : ‘There is a tendency in university circles to look upon 

alternating work and study, and also upon ‘practical' courses, espe- 
cially those calling for manual craftsmanship, as suited to inferior 
minds, while the professional courses are for intellectuals. This 
separation of skill of hand from skill of mind has greatly retarded 
the mastery of the physical world and has been a major cause of 
poverty, especially in India. Practical work should not leave the 
worker in a blind alley without continued opportunity for advance- 
ment. Like scholarship, it should be recognised with ascending 
grades of achievement and opportunity, so that a man who develops 
high ability with hand and eye may have scope to advancement 
equal to that of the purely intellectual worker. The starting of the 
Rural Institutes in the various parts of India is an attempt at 
building higher education on the above lines and on the underlying 
principles of basic education. 

It is a good sign that the spirit of basic education is permeating 
society in various ways. To-day, emphasis is everywhere being laid 
on the importance of work involving manual labour. We see the 
National Cadet Corps digging many furlongs of drains, students 


building school houses, college boys and girls constructing latrines, 
urinals, etc., and educated men and women organizing cleaning 
campaigns in the villages. These would have been unheard of in a 
previous generation and are in a large measure due to the message 
of Gandhiji. In the last decade or two, we see that ideas such as 
manual labour, service in villages and student self-government, 
which are essential features of basic education, are being accepted 
and followed in a much wider sphere. Besides, professional courses 
(which were previously only theoretical) are being revised with 
more practical work, as in Engineering and Agriculture. But these 
tendencies, good as they are, are not enough. The future of any 
country depends upon the quality of the work of its ordinary man 
and the technical ability which he brings to bear on his daily duties, 
in whatever sphere he may be placed. Besides individual excel- 
lence, the capacity to work together, in harmony with others for a 
common objective — a capacity which basic education tries to build 
up — is of the utmost importance. In the present age, success 
comes to those who can organize and inspire large masses of men for 
a common purpose. Skills and qualities, which will enable men to 
do this, are acquired only by long training. Our educational insti- 
tutions have need to adapt themselves to a type of education which 
will build up these skills and the qualities essential for their success- 
ful exercise. 



BARODA AND KERALA 


85 


CHAPTER 5 

Two Case Studies: Baroda and Kerala 

I. Baroda 

The State of Baroda has a unique place in the history of com- 
pulsory education in India. In the closing decade of the last 
century, when the idea of compulsory education was anathema to 
the British bureaucrats, it was an enlightened ruler of this State, the 
late Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III (1863-1939) who introduced 
compulsory education in his State and nursed the experiment care- 
fully for nearly half a century. The history of this pioneer experi- 
ment and its experiences in enforcing compulsory attendance are of 
great interest to the students of compulsory education in India. 

Early Developments : Maharaja Sayajirao had a great faith in 

compulsory education as a potent instrument for raising the stan- 
dard of living of the masses and was determined to introduce it 
progressively in all the areas of his State. Soon after assuming the 
reins of office in 1881, he selected the Amreli Taluka— which was 
the most backward area of his State — for an experiment in compul- 
sory education. In the beginning, intensive efforts were made to 
expand elementary education on a voluntary basis as a preliminary 
step to the introduction of compulsion and, in January 1893, com- 
pulsory education was introduced in all parts of the taluka as an 
experimental measure. A review taken 10 years later showed that 
the experiment was a great success. The school enrolment in 1904 
included 5*201 children of the prescribed compulsory age and 539 
children above the compulsory age (in a total population of 52,828 
in the 52 villages of the Taluka). Of these, 3,934 were boys and 
2,206 girls. Being satisfied with these results, the Maharaja extend- 
ed compulsory education to the State as a whole in 1906. 

Legislation for Compulsory Attendance : One of the most 

valuable contribution of the Baroda experiment is the light it 
throws on the nature of legislation needed in India for the enforce- 
ment of compulsory attendance. It is, therefore, proposed to 
examine the Baroda legislation in some detail. 


The Baroda Compulsory Education Act was first passed in 1906 
and modified successively in 1910, 1916 and 1926 in the light of ex- 
periences gained in the field. The principal features of these laws 
were the following: 

(a) Age-Period of Compulsion: The Compulsory Education 

Act of 1906 fixed the lower and upper ages for compulsion at 7 and 
12 for boys and 7 and 10 for girls and the standard to be completed 
at three. In 1910, the upper age for compulsory education for girls 
was raised to 11, and the compulsory standard for both the sexes to 
four. In August 1913, the compulsory age was again raised to 
14 for boys and 12 for girls. At the same time, the age for the 
marriage of girls was raised to 12 under the Early Marriage Preven- 
tion Act and the standard to be completed was also raised to five 
for boys as well as girls. In 1915-16, the infant class was abolished 
and the first four elementary standards were treated as the com- 
pulsory education classes (the full elementary course had six 
classes at this time ; but attendance in the fifth and sixth classes 
was voluntary). Later on, the compulsory age for boys as well as 
girls was fixed at 7-12. 

( b ) Exemption from Compulsory Attendance: The early 

rules on compulsory education provided exemptions from com- 
pulsory attendance in the following cases only, (i) those who were 
receiving instruction at home; (ii) those who had completed 
standards prescribed for compulsory education ; (Hi) those who were 
incapacitated by illness ; (iv) those who were living over a mile from 
any established primary school ; (u) 'purdah’ girls in whose case no 
special provision for instruction could be made ; (vi) a child who 
happened to be the only son of a cultivator ; and (vii) a girl whose 
mother had a nursing infant. In 1905-06, four more grounds for 
exemption were added ; (viii) children whose parents or guardians 
had an annual income below Rs. 150 or any amount fixed by orders 
of the Maharaja from time to time ; (ix) children of parents who 
h ere paying an assessment to the State below an amount to be fixed ; 
( x ) children with permanent physical infirmity or mental defect for 
acquiring instruction ; and (xi) children who were necessarily 
required to stay at home by the bedside of aged or ailing parents. 
The Baroda Compulsory Primary Education Act, 1906, which 
extended compulsion to all parts of the State included one more 



86 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BARODA AND KERALA 


87 


ground for exemption ; ( xii ) children who were the only earners in 
the family. 

(c) Fines for Offences : The Baroda Act initially provided 

for a fine of two annas for absence from school on the first occasion, 
to be raised gradually up to one rupee for a continuing offence. In 
the beginning, appeals against fines levied were allowed. These 
were later prohibited ; but a revision application could be made 
to a higher authority within sixty days of the order. In 1915-16, 
the law was amended to provide that the total absence of a child for 
45 days or more in a period of three months should alone render 
the parent liable to prosecution (instead of 15 days as previously 
prescribed). This change was made to enable the children of agri- 
cultural parents to help their parents during the cultivating and 
harvesting season. 

(d) Prevention of Employment of Children of Compulsory 

Age: The Baroda Education Commission (1909) suggested legis- 

lation for the prevention of employment of children of the school 
going age in mills, factories or in work of such a nature as would 
prevent their attendance at school. This recommendation was 
accepted and the employment of children up to the age of 12 in 
mills and factories was prohibited. The defaulting employers were 
made liable to prosecution and fine for every infringement. 

Difficulties Experienced in the Enforcement of Compulsion in 
the Baroda State : Some of the difficulties experienced in Baroda 
in the enforcement of compulsion are worthy of note. 

(a) Census: The first step in the enforcement of compulsion 

is the preparation of the census of the children of compulsory age. 
The following were the most important difficulties experienced in 
this work. ( i ) It was always difficult to obtain information regard- 
ing girls. Especially, the Rajput and Muslim parents, who observed 
the purdah, resented any attempt to obtain information regarding 
the women inmates of their household. Besides, several families had 
an age old custom of withholding all information about the female 
members of the family, (ii) A constant complaint of the Education 
Department was that Revenue authorities did not take seriously to 
the work of enforcing compulsion and that their cooperation was 
often not available, (iii) The people themselves often tried to 
escape the scrutiny of census authorities by withholding the names 


of their children whose services they wanted to utilise, (iv) The 
village Patel, on whom the burden of preparing the census mainly 
rested, was often too ignorant to compile a correct list. He was also 
swayed by the influence of his fellow- villagers and was generally 
unwilling to court their displeasure by enlisting the names of the 
children who were required to assist their parents. The census 
lists were, therefore, generally defective. The Baroda experience 
suggests that probably the best agency to prepare a correct census of 
school-going children is that of the primary teachers, assisted by 
the Revenue Officers. 

( b ) Grant of Exemptions: The next step in the enforce- 

ment of compulsion is the granting of exemptions in deserving 
cases. The experience in Baroda was that very few applications 
for exemptions were ever made, due partly to the ignorance of the 
law on the part of backward communities or illiterate adults ; and 
partly to the fact that, in the Baroda system, no individual notices 
were sent to parents. The census lists were ‘published' in the sense 
that they were put up on the notice board of some office. This 
hardly reached the parents, most of whom were illiterate. 

( c ) Prosecutions: The third step in the enforcement of 

compulsion is to prosecute the defaulting parents whose children 
are either not enrolled or who are unable to attend regularly after 
enrolment. This work was done very thoroughly in Baroda State. 
Headmasters were very regular in sending monthly reports about 
children whose names were not registered as also of those who did 
not attend regularly after registration. The punishing authorities, 
such as the Panchayats or Municipalities, imposed fines as the cases 
came up. It would be difficult to devise a better system for the 
purpose than that set up by the Baroda State. 

(d) Recovery of Fines: The weakest point of the Baroda 

system was not the failure to prosecute but the failure to recover 
the fines. Unfortunately, very few fines were recovered and heavy 
arrears went on accumulating from year to year. This non-recovery 
was due to two reasons. In some cases, the fines were not realized 
because no prompt measures were taken to collect them. In most 
cases, however, the fines were not realized because of poverty. 

(e) Socio-economic Difficulties: The vested interests of 

the upper classes often came in the way of compulsory schooling. 



88 


elementary education in 


INDIA 


BARODA AND KERALA 


89 


Not infrequently, the upper classes, who employed the children of 
the backward classes, prevented them from attending schools and 
sometimes, even paid their fines. Similarly, the Harijans also had 
several difficulties. In places where schools were held in private 
buildings or temples, the ‘forward’ classes often objected to allow 
Harijan students to enter the school premises. In some cases, 
they even applied indirect economic pressure to prevent Harijans 
from sending their children to schools. It should be borne in mind 
that the Baroda experiment was tried out at a time when the custom 
of untouchability was still strong. The biggest problem, however, 
arose on economic grounds. Agriculturists required the help 
of their children in a number of ways, looking after an infant at 
home, or tending cattle, or helping in sowing and harvesting. In 
all such cases, compulsion became a hardship and attempts were 
made to evade it. 

Achievements and Failures of the Baroda Experiment in 
Compulsory Education .* No one claims that the Baroda experi- 
ment in compulsory education was a complete success. Its main 
contribution lay in the pioneering nature of the effort. Its achieve- 
ments were nevertheless important. This can be seen by comparing 
the development of education in Baroda State with that in Bombay 
Province where the socio-economic conditions were similar. In 
1881, the literacy in Baroda was less than that in the Province of 
Bombay. In 1941, the latest year for which separate figures are 
available, Baroda had a literacy of 35 per cent as against that of 
20 per cent in the Province of Bombay. 

Another significant achievement of Baroda was in the sphere 
of girls education. In 1949, the number of girls enrolled in 
elementary schools was 38 for every 100 boys in Bombay and 70 for 
every 100 boys in Baroda. This strikingly favourable comparison 
was made possible partly by the enforcement of compulsory educa- 
tion and partly by the strict enforcement of the law for prevention 
of child marriage. Baroda had passed a Child Marriage Prevention 
Act long before the Sarda Act was passed in British India and had 
prohibited the marriage of boys under 18 and girls under 16. 
Unlike the Sarda Act, this Act was rigorously enforced and helped 
materially in promoting the education of girls. 

Even admitting that greater progress was shown by Baroda as 


compared to Bombay, the question still remains as to why Baroda 
could not liquidate its illiteracy in the period of about 40 years 
when compulsory education was enforced throughout the State. 
The answers are interesting. It is surprising but true that, in spite 
of its universal adoption of compulsory education, not every village 
in Baroda was provided with a school. In fact, a very large number 
of villages were without any schools whatsoever, right up to 1949. 
The State was opposed to the establishment of single-teacher schools 
on the ground that such schools were indifferent, and had laid down 
that a minimum number of 75 children should be in attendance if 
a new elementary school was to be established (this would make it 
possible to appoint at least two teachers). In practice, therefore, 
all small villages, with a population of less than 500, were left 
without schools. In 1937-38, only 1,644 villages of the State with 
a total population of 1.9 million (or 79 per cent) had schools while 
as many as 1,325 villages with a population of 495,000 (or 21 per 
cent) were without schools. The experience of the Baroda experi- 
ment underlines the need to secure adequate and effective ‘physical 
coverage’ in the provision of schooling facilities if universal educa- 
tion is to be achieved. 

Another weakness in the Baroda experiment was the poor 
enforcement of the compulsory education law because of the inabi- 
lity to recover the fines imposed by the punishing authorities. It was 
generally found in Baroda that, of the total fines imposed, hardly 
10 per cent could be recovered. For instance, from 1933-34 to 
x 937'38, the total amount of fines imposed (with arrears) was Rs. 1.9 
million ; and the amounts recovered during the same period came 
only to Rs. 218,000. Steps were taken every now and then to write 
off the fines. Compulsion can be effective only against a parent who 
can send his child to the school but will not. But where, however, 
a parent is economically unable to send the child to the school, the 
penal machinery obviously breaks down. The extreme reliance 
placed in Baroda on the penal provisions of the compulsory law thus 
led to a serious weakness in the programme as a whole. 

The Baroda experiment clearly shows that an enforcement of 
a compulsory education law, however vigorous, is no substitute for 
(and is not even as effective as), a general attempt to educate the 
parents, to create consciousness among them about the significance 



9^ 


elementary education 


IN INDIA 


BARODA AND KERALA 


of eduauon and their responsibility for educating their children, 
and the organization of general programmes of social and economic 
etterment. For instance, one of the most interesting comparisons 
in elementary education is between the results obtained in Baroda 
(where the first compulsory law was passed as early as in 1893) and 
Kerala (where a compulsory law was passed only as late as in 1945). 
The number of elementary schools, the enrolment of boys and girls 
of the compulsory age, and the percentage of literacy have all been 
much higher in Travancore, even without compulsion, than in 
Baroda where compulsory education was earnestly attempted. The 
reasons for this apparent paradox are to be found mainly in socio- 
economic factors. The large Christian population of Kerala gave 
it a leeway in the programme while the equally large backward class 
population in Baroda was a great handicap. The social status 
enjoyed by women in Kerala made for greater educational aware- 
ness. Kerala began its drive for education earlier, its voluntary 
agencies were more active, and the provision of schools made therein 
was more widespread, than in Baroda. But above all, there was 
much greater general awakening among the people in Kerala and 
this constituted the single most important factor responsible for its 
more rapid development of education. A comparative study of the 
developments in Baroda and Kerala leads to the conclusion that 
excessive reliance on the penal aspects of the compulsory law is a 
poor instrument for developing elementary education. 

II. Kerala 

The State of Kerala came into existence on the ist of November 
*95h> through the integration of the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin 
State (excluding the four Tamil speaking taluks in the extreme 
south and parts of Shencottah taluk beyond the Ghats) with the 
District of Malabar and the Kaseragode taluk. It has the most 
advanced system of elementary education and, with the exception 
of the union territory of Delhi, the highest percentage of literacy 
in the country. How has Kerala, a densely populated and poor 
State, been able to make such good progress in elementary education 
and what can the other states learn from its experience in this field? 
These are questions which are most frequently asked and, in this 
case study, an attempt will be made to answer them, in the light of 


9 1 

the past history and present position of elementary education in the 
State. 

General Background : Kerala forms a long and narrow coastal 

strip in the south-west corner of India, with a total area of about 
15,000 sq. miles, and is the smallest state in the Union. It has a 
very large population of 16,875,000 persons, according to the 1961 
census, and the highest rate of density — 1,125 persons per sq. mile 
as compared to 313 persons per sq. mile in India as a whole. The 
rate of the growth of its population is also very high — it has been 
more than doubled in the last 40 years, increasing from 780,000 in 
1921 to 1.69 million in 1961. 

About 85 per cent of the population lives in villages. But the 
village system obtaining in the State is different from that in most 
other states of India. Kerala is a land of detached homesteads. 
The density of population in most of the towns is not very much 
higher than in some villages. In fact, there are some villages where 
the density of population is higher than in the neighbouring towns. 
There are only 25 municipal towns in the State with a population 
of more than 20,000. 

Classified according to age, it is seen that, out of every 100 
persons in the State, 39 are below 15 years of age, 53 are in the ages 
of 15 to 55 and 8 are above 55 years of age. The large proportion of 
children in the population indicates the high rate of the growth of 
population, with concomitant educational responsibilities. About 
53.6 per cent of the total population depends on agriculture for its 
livelihood. Agricultural labour constitutes the most numerous 
single occupation with 21.1 per cent of the total population and 
39-3 P er cent of the agricultural classes. In all occupations, except 
in commerce and transport, women outnumber men. Among those 
who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, 17.5 per cent have 
non-agricultural subsidiary occupations ; and out of those belong- 
ing to non-agricultural classes, 17.2 per cent have agriculture as the 
subsidiary source of income. Thus only 44.2 per cent and 38.4 per 
cent of the total population subsist entirely on agricultural and non- 
agricultural occupations respectively. Though 46.4 per cent of the 
population have been returned as dependent on non-agricultural 
vocations for their livelihood, it should not be inferred that the State 
has reached a high level of industrialisation. Of these, only 18.8 



92 


elementary education in 


INDIA 


BARODA AND KERALA 


93 


per cent are engaged in production (other than agricultural), 7.8 per 
cent m commerce, 3.2 per cent in transport, and 16.6 per cent in 
other services. 

The religious composition of the population is: 61 per cent 

Hindus, 22 per cent Christians and 16 per cent Muslims. The 
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes form about 9 per cent of the 
total population. 

The State is linguistically homogeneous, Malavalam being the 
mother-tongue of nearly 95 per cent of the people. Tamil, which 
comes next in importance, is the mother-tongue of about 3 per cent. 
Malayalam is the medium of instruction in schools at all the three 
stages primary, middle and secondary. In some areas of the State, 
there are a few schools with Tamil as medium of instruction. In 
Kaseragode taluk, there are bilingual schools having Kannada and 
Malayalam classes. Parallel classes with English medium are also 
conducted in many schools in different centres in the State. 

Provision of Schools : The first step in the programme of 

elementary education is to provide an elementary school within easy 
distance from the home of every child. In Kerala, steps were 
taken, from the very early days, to provide adequate schooling faci- 
lities. When the Education Survey of India was carried out, as on 
31st March 1957, it was found that Kerala ranked very high among 
the Indian States in providing elementary schools. Of the total of 
10,660 rural habitations in Kerala, 5,751 (or 53.9 per cent) had 
primary schools in them ; 3,339 (or 31.3 per cent) had schools near 
them; and only, 1,570 (or 14.8 per cent) were without any educa- 
tional facilities. In this respect, it stood second in India, Madras 
standing first with only 11.71 per cent habitations without educa- 
tional facilities. In terms of population, 72.4 per cent of the total 
rural population was served by primary schools located in the 
habitations, 18.1 per cent by schools near the habitations and only 
9.5 per cent of the total rural population was not served by a school. 
In this regard, Kerala stood fourth in India, the first three places 
going to Madras (5.4 per cent), Punjab (6.2 per cent), Mysore (8.3 
per cent) and Bombay (8.4 per cent). It may be pointed out that 
Kerala has three natural divisions — the highland, the midland and 
the lowland. The highland takes up an area of 7,093 sq. miles 
forming about 47 per cent of the State. The average elevation of 


the Western Ghats in this area is 4,000 feet. A series of uplands and 
plains of varying elevation make up the midland. They cover an 
area of nearly 4,900 sq. miles and form about 33 per cent of the 
State. The lowlands, which are the most densely populated, cover 
an area of about 3,000 sq. miles in extent and form nearly 20 per 
cent of the State. The provision of schools has been made on 
a 100 per cent basis in the lowlands. But in the mid- and high- 
lands, physical difficulties such as small and scattered habitations 
make such provision difficult. The shortages of school facilities are 
only to be found in this area. At the middle school stage, Kerala 
had the best provision of school facilities — 18.2 per cent of the habi- 
tations had schools in them, 68.5 per cent had schools near them 
and only 13.3 per cent were without this educational facility, the 
corresponding figure for the country as a whole being 49.7 per cent. 
The survey also showed that Kerala needed only 2,187 new primary 
schools (out of 103,288 for India as a whole) to reach the goal for 
universal provision of schools. A good deal of this work has already 
been done and Kerala will soon be able to complete this first stage 
of its expansion of elementary education in the very near future. 

Enrolment in Elementary Schools : In enrolment of children 

in elementary schools, Kerala decidedly leads all the other states. 
In 1960-61, the total enrolment in classes I-V in Kerala was 2.34 
million which is equal to about 108 per cent of the total population 
in the age-group 6-11 as against an all-India average of 61 per cent 
only. It includes 85 per cent of all children in the age-group 6-11, 
the rest being children below 6 or above 11. By the end of the 
Third Plan, therefore, it is expected to enrol almost all children in 
the age-group 6-11 as against an all-India target of about 76 per cent 
only. In fact, Kerala is the only state which would fulfil the 
original target proposed by the Education Panel of the Planning 
Commission, viz., to enrol 100 per cent of the children in the age- 
group of 6-11 by 1965-66. Even in the age-group of 11-14, Kerala 
maintains the same lead. In 1960-61, the total enrolment at the 
middle school stage in Kerala was 544,000 or 50.3 per cent of the 
age-group 11-14 ( as against 22.8 per cent for the country as a whole). 
The enrolment of girls, both at the primary and middle school 
stages, is far better in Kerala than in other states. This will be seen 
from Table 6. 



94 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 


BARODA AND KERALA 


95 


TABLE 6: ENROLMENT OF GIRLS AT THE ELEMENTARY STAGE 


Enrolment at the primary stage Enrolment at the middle stage 


Year 

Boys 

Girls 

No. of girls 
for every 
1 00 boys 

Boys 

Girls 

No. of girls 
for every 
100 boys 




KERALA 




1955-56 

1,027,888 

884,704 

86 

215,082 

159,803 

74 

1956-57 

1,120,662 

947,367 

85 

276,648 

194,069 

70 

1957-58 

1,171,570 

971,754 

83 

283,434 

198,646 

70 

1958-59 

1,222,234 

1,051,579 

86 

310,376 

223,441 

72 




INDIA 




1955-56 

17,024,645 

7,486,686 

44 

3,830,784 

992,560 

26 

1956-57 

17,884,117 

8,080,691 

45 

4,020,514 

1,138,171 

28 

1957-58 

18,812,890 

8,557,321 

45 

4,235,890 

1,262,581 

30 

1958-59 

20,480,488 

9,560,763 

47 

4,454,437 

1,365,219 

31 


A significant aspect of the enrolment in Kerala is that wastage 
and stagnation are relatively small, probably the least in India. The 
dimunition of enrolment from class to class is much less in Kerala 
than in the rest of the country (Table 8). 

Teachers : In respect of elementary teachers, Kerala shows two 

distinct points of advance : the proportion of trained teachers is very 
high in Kerala ; and it also employs a much larger proportion of 
women teachers than the rest of the country. This would be clear 
from the following table: 


TABLE 7: ELEMENTARY TEACHERS IN KERALA 




Kerala 



India 


Year 

Total No. 
of 

elemen- 

tary 

teachers 

Percentage 
of trained 
elementary 
teachers 

Percentage 
of women 
teachers 
to total 
no. of 
teachers 

Total No. 
of 

elementary 

teachers 

Percentage 
of trained 
elementary 
teachers 

Percentage 
of women 
teachers 
to total 
no. of 
teachers 

1956-57 

59,748 

91.1 

38.4 

876,702 

61.8 

17.4 

1957-58 

63,722 

90.0 

40.0 

914,312 

63.4 

18.0 

1958-59 

68,745 

89.4 

41.5 

960,465 

64.3 

18.5 

1959-60 

71,706 

88.2 

42.2 

1,023,606 

64.5 

91.1 


Q 

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fl O W 




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co 


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cm' 

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cm co 

cm Os co r- 

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co*' cm" cm" —f 


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iO 


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Total 1,532,610 1,275,020 2,807,630 100.0 100.0 100.0 25,213,917 10,983,374 36,197,291 10.0 100.0 100.0 



9 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 


N 


N D I A 


The scale of pay of teachers which, for a long time, was com- 
paratively low now stands at Rs. 40-4~6o-EB*-5-i2o. As compared to 
some other states in India, the remuneration of teachers in Kerala 
is rather on the low side, although the average emoluments of an 
elementary teacher in Kerala is higher than that in India as a whole. 

Expenditure : Elementary education is free in the State. The 

local bodies had no responsibility for elementary education in the 
old Travancore and Cochin States. Only in the areas which came 
over from the Madras State were the local bodies charged with some 
administrative and financial responsibility ; but this has since been 
taken away. Consequently, elementary education in Kerala is 
administered direct by the State which also bears almost all its cost. 
This will be seen from the following table: 


TABLE 9: EXPENDITURE ON ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN KERALA 



1956-57 

1957-58 

1958-59 

1959-60 

I. Total direct expendi- 
ture on elementary 
education met from 





(i) Government Funds 

43,249,798 

57,308,203 

73,186,998 

81,138,047 

(ii) Local Board Funds 

3,163,575 

2,228,266 

5,451 

5,399 

(Hi) Municipal Funds 

335,907 

542,370 


603 

(iv) Fees . . 

37,631 

26,278 

62,230 

82,778 

(v) Other Sources 

620,867 

721,395 

1,213,916 

1,093,883 

Total 

47,407,778 

60,826,512 

74,468,595 

82,320,710 

11 .Total educational ex- 
penditure 

1 13,934,047 

127,553,500 

158,053,454 

170,765,951 

III. Percentage of total 
direct expenditure on 
elementary education 

to total educational ex- 
penditure 

41.6 

47.7 

47.1 

48.2 


Taking India as a whole, the total direct expenditure on 
elementary education was about 39 per cent of the total educational 
expenditure in 1949-50 and this had fallen to 34 per cent by 1960-61. 
In Kerala, on the other hand, the proportion of the total direct expen- 
diture on elementary education to total educational expenditure is 

* EB stands for Efficiency Bar which the incumbent has to cross before he becomes 
eligible for further increments in the scale. 


BARODA AND KERALA 


97 


continuously rising. This shows the high priority accorded to 
elementary education in Kerala. 

Ancillary Services : Another distinctive feature of elementary 

education in Kerala is the provision of good ancillary services. The 
State provides school meals to almost all necessitous children at the 
primary stage. Two-thirds of the cost involved is met by Govern- 
ment and the remaining one-third is raised through local contribu- 
tions. About 1.7 million children are thus provided with school 
meals. 

The production of textbooks at the elementary stage has been 
taken over by the State. 

The State has also organized a good system of medical inspection 
and treatment. Under this scheme, which has been introduced in 
all primary schools, every pupil is to be examined once a year by a 
competent medical officer and will receive, if necessary, adequate 
medical attention in the nearest Government hospital or dispensary. 
The scheme has been put into operation through 200 medical ins- 
pection units distributed throughout the State. Each unit will 
cover the primary schools within a radius of five miles and will be 
staffed by a medical officer, from the nearest Government hospital 
or dispensary, on a part-time basis. 

Compulsory Education : The progress in elementary educa- 

tion has been achieved in Kerala without any large recourse to a 
penal law. The Travancore Compulsory Education Act, which 
envisaged a scheme for the nationalisation of primary education, was 
promulgated in 1945 by the erstwhile Travancore Government and 
compulsory primary education was introduced in a few taluks of the 
State in 1946-47. It was later on extended to a few more taluks, 
stage by stage. When the erstwhile State of Cochin was integrated 
with Travancore, the Act was extended to Cochin also. With the 
integration of the State in 1956, some areas in the old Madras State 
where compulsory education had been introduced earlier under the 
Madras Elementary Education Act, 1920, were transferred to this 
State. By 1958-59, compulsion had been introduced in 18 towns and 
185 villages only of the Kerala State and the total enrolment in 
compulsory areas was only 334,501. Moreover, hardly any penal 
action is taken under the compulsory law and reliance is placed 
mainly on persuasion and propaganda. 

7 



98 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BARODA AND KERALA 


99 


Reasons for and Implications of the Advance of Elementary 
Education in Kerala : What are the factors which have made 
Kerala the most advanced state in India in elementary education? 
A number of tentative answers can be suggested. 

The social background in Kerala has been favourable to the 
rapid advance of education. In Kerala, women enjoy a high social 
status and there is hardly any prejudice against the education of 
girls. The population of the backward classes also is comparatively 
small. On the other hand, the large proportion of Christians — who 
are very education-conscious and among whom the education of 
women is greatly advanced — has been a distinct asset to the develop- 
ment of education in Kerala in more ways than one. The large 
density of population on the coastal strip with its almost continuous 
stretch of houses has made the provision of school facilities easier. 
These social and physical advantages have more than counter- 
balanced the economic handicaps of the people. 

Kerala also began its drive for expansion of elementary educa- 
tion much earlier. It was towards the middle of the nineteenth 
century that both Travancore and Cochin began to expand education 
under the guidance of their enlightened rulers and able Dewans. 
They did not commit the mistake of the British administrators who 
neglected the indigenous schools. On the other hand, they started 
by assisting them and gave every encouragement to private 
enterprise. Consequently, both Travancore and Cochin led the 
whole of India in education and as early as 1901, they had the highest 
percentage of literacy. This lead, which they obtained 60 years ago, 
has never been lost. 

There is another important point to be noted here. Kerala 
adopted a strategy of educational development which made rapid 
advance in elementary education possible. This strategy has 
two features. The first is the raising of the pupil-teacher ratio 
in the initial stages of expansion, with gradual reduction during 
the subsequent stage of consolidation. Table 10 on next page 
compares the pupil-teacher ratio in Kerala with that in India as 
a whole. 

It will be seen that between 1949-5° and !954"55» Kerala had 
a very high pupil-teacher ratio which enabled it to achieve expansion. 
This high ratio was reached because of the adoption of the shift 


system. The classes under the shift system work for 2 1 hours per 
day for 200 days a year ; and the adoption of this system, therefore, 
helps to raise the pupil-teacher ratio. At one time, Kerala had 
adopted the shift system for all the first four classes and hence the 
high ratios of 50-55. But later on, as funds became available, the 
shift system was abolished from class IV ; it is also now proposed 
to be abolished from class III. A more favourable pupil-teacher 
ratio of 40: 1 has also been adopted since 1958-59. 


TABLE 10: PUPIL-TEACHER RATIO (1949-50 to 1958-59) 


Year 


Kerala 



All-India 


Primary 

School 

Middle 

School 

Elementary 

School 

Primary 

School 

Middle 

School 

Elementary 

School 

1949-50 

53 

45 

52 

34 

25 

32 

1950-51 

50 

19 

45 

34 

24 

33 

1951-52 

52 

23 

46 

34 

25 

32 

1952-53 

50 

24 

46 

33 

24 

32 

1953-54 

54 

23 

48 

33 

23 

32 

1954-55 

55 

26 

49 

33 

23 

31 

1955-56 

41 

18 

37 

33 

26 

32 

1956-57 

41 

27 

38 

34 

26 

32 

1957-58 

39 

29 

36 

34 

27 

33 

1958-59 

41 

27 

36 

35 

31 

34 


N.B . — From 1949-50 to 1954-55, figures pertain to Travancore- Cochin. 


The second aspect of the Kerala strategy for the rapid develop- 
ment of elementary education was that it kept down the cost per 
pupil in the first stage of expansion. The growth of elementary 
education depends upon two main factors: the cost per pupil and 
the total expenditure on elementary education. If the largest 
expansion is desired, it is necessary to keep the cost per pupil down 
and/or to increase the total expenditure on elementary education. 
The strategy of Kerala, which combined both these methods, will 
be clear from the statistics shown in Table 11. 



lOO ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


TABLE 

1 1 : COST PER PUPIL 






Kerala 



All-India 



1949-50 

1954-55 

1958-59 

1949-50 

1954-55 

1958-59 


Rs. 

Rs. 

Rs. 

Rs. 

Rs. 

Rs. 

1. Average annual salary of a 
primary school teacher 

333.7 

473.1 

1030.1 

479.2 

653.3 

788.5 

2. Pupil- teacher ratio (primary 
schools) 

53 

55 

41 

34 

33 

35 

3. Annual cost per pupil (primary 
schools) 

6.7 

9.6 

27.2 

19.5 

22.9 

26,1 

4. Expenditure on primary edu- 
cation per head of population 

0.9 

1.3 

3.0 

1.0 

1.3 

1.5 


N.B . — The figures of 1949-50 and 1954-55 are those of Travancore-Cochin. 


It will be seen that the cost per pupil was kept very low in 
Kerala in the early days of expansion, partly by keeping the salaries 
down and partly by raising the pupil-teacher ratio. This made 
expansion possible. Since 1957-58, the salaries have been raised and 
the pupil-teacher ratio has been brought down. Hence the rate of 
spending on elementary education in Kerala has risen to about twice 
that in the country as a whole. 

Educational advance brings its own burdens. The lowering of 
the pupil-teacher ratio, combined with the rise in salaries, raised the 
expenditure on elementary education. The expansion of elemen- 
tary education was followed naturally by expansion at the secondary 
and university stages. This increased the expenditure on higher 
education also. Consequently, the total educational expenditure 
increased by leaps and bounds and Kerala is now spending about 
40 per cent of its total state revenue on education alone. 

Of all the states in the Union, Kerala is in the most favourable 
position to reach the goal laid down in the Constitution by 1975 : 
free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 


14 years. 


SECTION TWO 

Some Problems of Expansion 



SECTION TWO 


Some Problems of Expansion 

This section deals with some important issues involved in 
accelerating the expansion of elementary education. The first step 
in a programme of universal elementary education is to provide an 
elementary school within easy reach of every child. The problems 
involved in this task have been dealt with in Chapter 6. The 
second step in the programme is to enrol every child in the school 
and the implications of this have been discussed in Chapter 7. 

he third step is to see that every child enrolled makes adequate 
progress from class to class and is retained in school till he completes 
t e elementary course or the compulsory age. The issues involved 
m this most difficult of all tasks of expansion are dealt with in 
apter 8. The difficulties and problems of special groups in 
respect of universal education are then discussed in the three follow- 
mg chapters : the education of girls (Chapter 9) ; the education of 
he backward classes (Chapter 10) ; and part-time education and 
education of handicapped children (Chapter 1 1). 



CHAPTER 6 


Universal Provision of Schools 

The expansion of elementary education generally takes place 
in three well-defined stages. The first is the universal provision of 
schools when an attempt is made to provide an elementary school 
within easy walking distance of the home of every child so that any 
parent who desires to send his child to school has access to the neces- 
sary facilities in the second stage, viz., universal enrolment, when 
an effort is made to enrol every child in school. This is essentially a 
stage of voluntary expansion, strengthened by educative propaganda 
and persuasion designed to induce parents to send their children to 
schools as soon as they attain the age prescribed for admission. In 
the third stage, i.e., universal retention, an attempt is made to 
eliminate or reduce wastage and to see that every child enrolled in 
schools is retained there till he completes either the elementary 
course or the compulsory age. Legislation for enforcement of com- 
pulsory attendance plays a significant, although minor, part at this 
stage and the main effort has to be directed to increase the ‘holding 
power’ of the schools and to overcome the economic and other 
difficulties which tempt parents to withdraw their children from 
schools. In a given local area served by a single school, these three 
stages follow one another in the order mentioned above. But taking 
the country as a whole, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the 
second and the third stages begin long before the first is over and, 
in a sense, they all exist side by side. Nevertheless, it is convenient 
to discuss the programmes of the expansion of elementary education 
separately on the basis of these stages because each one of them raises 
distinct problems of its own. 

In the present chapter, we shall deal with the first stage, viz., 
universality of school provision. The remaining stages will be dealt 
with in the two subsequent chapters. 

The Educational Survey of India (1957) •* The annual educa- 
tional statistics collected in India reported the total number of 
elementary schools in the country. But it was not possible to deduce 



io6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 


from them the extent to which adequate educational facilities had 
already been provided or the additional effort that was needed to 
reach the goal of providing an elementary school within easy distance 
from the home of every child. There were several difficulties. 
The number of towns and villages served by schools could not be 
equated with the existing number of schools because some towns 
and bigger villages had several schools while some schools served 
more than one village and the data about these details were not avail- 
able. Moreover, the term Village’ itself was ambiguous. It was 
not a unit of population, but of area. Some villages had a number 
of habitations (or clusters of populations, the educational needs of 
each of which had to be separately examined) and very often, they 
were quite a long distance apart. On the other hand, several villages 
had no population at all. The census gave only a list of Villages’ 
and there was no data available about the ‘habitations’. Therefore, 
it soon became obvious that, unless a special effort was made to 
hold an educational survey of India, to identify and enumerate all 
the habitations separately, and to ascertain the extent to which they 
had already been provided with educational facilities, it would not 
be possible to prepare a realistic programme that would lead the 
country to its goal of universal provision of schools. 

The need for an educational survey was stressed, as early as in 
xgix, by the Government of India but no serious notice was taken 
of the proposal. It was only in Madras that an educational survey 
of the entire Province was carried out in 1924 and a few districts 
were surveyed in Bombay. Things remained in cold storage till 
1956 when a proposal for holding an educational survey of India 
was made by the Education Panel of the Planning Commission and 
endorsed by the Central Advisory Board of Education in January 
1956. The Government of India thereupon decided to conduct an 
All-India Educational Survey in collaboration with the state govern- 
ments. A survey unit was set up for the purpose in the Ministry of 
Education in November, 1956. All the state governments, except 
West Bengal, participated in the scheme and the survey was com- 
pleted and its results published in 1959. 2 These are briefly summa- 
rized in the following paragraphs. 

1 Progress of Education in India , 1907-12, Vol I, pp. 134-35- 

3 Report of the AU-India Educational Survey , Ministry of Education, New 
Delhi, i960. 


107 

Identification and Enumeration of Habitations: The first 

step in the survey was obviously to identify and enumerate all the 
habitations. The census of 1951 — the latest basic document with 
which the survey had to start— enumerated 546,463 villages and 
169,190 hamlets (these were enumerated in four states only: Andhra 
Pradesh 5,413; Madhya Pradesh 6,951; Rajasthan 11,108; and 
Uttar Pradesh 145,718), thus making a total of 716,653 habitations. 
This figure had to be corrected by deducting the number of habita- 
tions’ which had become uninhabited or which had since grown 
into urban areas, and by adding newly created habitations and all 
hamlets which had escaped enumeration in the 1951 census. The 
net result was to identify and enumerate 840,033 habitations in rural 
areas as shown in Table 12. 

Of these 840,033 habitations, 525,363 were villages and 314,67° 
were hamlets. There were, therefore, about 60 hamlets to 100 
villages. This average, however, conceals a very wide range of 
variations. A large number of villages had no hamlets at all. But 
a village in Bihar was reported to have as many as 229 hamlets ; one 
in Rajasthan had 81 ; one in Andhra Pradesh had 40; and the 
maximum number of hamlets in a village in Maharashtra was 32- 
Though the hamlets were generally situated within a couple of miles 
of the main village, there were a large number of instances when 
they were far away from the parent village, the maximum distance 
noticed in one case being 24 miles. Though one expects hamlets 
to be small, at any rate smaller than the main village, several 
hamlets were bigger than their parent villages and a few hamlets 
with population over 2,000 were also noticed. 

A minimum population of 200 is essential for justifying the 
establishment of a single-teacher school in a habitation. On this 
population, it will be possible to have 40 children in attendance if 
compulsory education for the age-group 6-14 is enforced and 
25 children in attendance if compulsory education for the age-group 
6-11 only is enforced. If this premise is granted, it will not be 
possible to establish separate schools in habitations where the popu- 
lation is less than 200. The number of such habitations is very 
large. It will be seen from the above table that there are 189,329 
habitations (or 22.54 per cent of the total) which have a population 
between 199 and 100 and 254,071 habitations (or 30.25 per cent of 



TABLE 12: DISTRIBUTION OF RURAL HABITATIONS ACCORDING TO POPULATION SLABS 


108 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 


109 


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the total) which have a population of less than 100 and all these 
habitations would be without schools! It is this large number of 
very small habitations that presents a difficult problem in the 
provision of educational facilities. It must also be pointed out here 
that the survey did not enumerate small habitations of less than 
25 persons. These exist probably in thousands and complicate the 
problem still further. 

One important point to be noticed is that, although the number 
of habitations in the smaller population slabs is very large, their 
total population is relatively small. For instance, the habitations 
below a population of 200 number 443>39° or 52-8 per cent of the 
total; but their population is only 41.8 million or 14.6 per cent 
of the total rural population. This, as well as the distribution of 
the total rural population according to the different slabs, is shown 
in the following table : 


TABLE 13: RURAL HABITATIONS AND POPULATION ACCORDING 

TO POPULATION SLABS (AS ON 31.3.1957) 


Population slabs 

Habitations 

Population 

Number 

Percentage 
to total 

Persons 

Percentage 
to total 

5,000 and above 

553 

0.07 

3,538,611 

1.2 

2,000 to 4,999 

11,563 

1.38 

31,775,052 

11.4 

1,000 to 2,000 

41,386 

4.93 

55,572,121 

19.9 

500 to 999 

105,495 

12.56 

72,600,618 

26.0 

400 to 499 

49,700 

5.91 

22,097,073 

7.9 

300 to 399 

74,146 

8.82 

25,476,222 

9.1 

200 to 299 

113,790 

13.54 

27,672,808 

9.9 

100 to 199 

189,329 

22.54 

27,057,876 

9.7 

Below 100 

254,071 

30.25 

13,760,565 

4.9 

Total Below 500 

681,036 

81.06 

116,064,544 

41.5 

Grand Total 

840,033 

100.00 

279,550,946 

100.00 


Existing Educational Facilities ( Primary Stage) : The next 

problem taken up by the survey was to enumerate the existing 



1 io 


elementary education IN INDIA 


UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 


111 


primary schools and to examine the extent to which they meet the 
educational needs of the 840,033 habitations listed earlier. For this 
purpose, it was assumed that a child may be expected to walk one 
mile from his residence to attend the school and that, in a few 
exceptional circumstances, this distance may be raised to 1J or 
even 2 miles. It was found that 229.023 habitations (27.26 per cent 
of the total) had a primary school in them ; 370,962 (or 44.16 per 
cent) habitations had a school near them (174.621 or 35.4 per cent) 
within half a mile; 176,999 (or 35.91 per cent) within one mile; 
1 7>444 ° r 3-54 P er cent within a mile and a half; and 1,227 ( or 
0.25 per cent) at a longer distance ; and 240,048 (or 28.58 per cent) 
had no educational facilities whatsoever. The details of this will 
be seen in the following tables: 


TABLE 14: RURAL HABITATIONS WITH EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES 
AT THE PRIMARY STAGE (AS ON 31.3.57) 

All-India 


Population slabs 


Habitations served by a 

school 


Number of habitations 

Percentage of habitations 
with 

in it 

near it 

neither 

a school 
in it 

a school 
near it 

no school 

5,000 & above 

528 

6 

19 

95.47 

1.27 

3.26 

2,000 to 4,999 . . 

10,911 

272 

380 

94.36 

2.35 

3.29 

1,000 to 1,999 . . 

36,911 

2,443 

2,032 

89.19 

5.90 

4.91 

500 to 999 .. 

75,984 

15,658 

13,853 

72.03 

14.84 

13.13 

400 to 499 . . 

25,100 

13,182 

11,418 

50.50 

26.53 

22.97 

300 to 399 . . 

27,274 

25,891 

20,981 

36.78 

34.92 

28.30 

200 to 299 . . 

26,169 

53,890 

33,731 

23.00 

47.36 

29.64 

100 to 199 . . 

19,339 

1,07,532 

62,458 

10.21 

56.80 

32.99 

Below 100 

6,807 

1,52,088 

95,176 

2.68 

59.86 

37.46 

Total Below 500 

1,04,689 

3,52,583 

2,23,764 

15.37 

51.77 

32.86 

Grand Total 

2,29,023 

3,70,962 

2,40,048 

27.26 

44.16 

28.58 


TABLE 15: RURAL HABITATIONS WITH EDUCATIONAL 

FACILITIES AT THE PRIMARY STAGE (AS ON 31.3.57) 

State- Wise 


Habitations served by a school 


Number of habitations Percentage of habitations 

with 


in it 

near it 

neither a school 

a school no school 



in it 

near it 


Andhra Pradesh . . 

22,708 

14,757 

13,258 

44.77 

29.09 

26.14 

Assam 

11,001 

7,507 

7,034 

43.07 

29.39 

27.54 

Bihar 

26,351 

60,956 

22,529 

23.99 

55.50 

20.51 

Bombay 

40,528 

20,212 

15,411 

53.22 

26.54 

20.24 

Jammu & Kashmir 

1,884 

5,007 

3,947 

17.38 

46.20 

36.42 

Kerala 

5,751 

3,339 

1,570 

53.95 

31.32 

14.73 

Madhya Pradesh . . 

20,824 

24,974 

36,380 

25.34 

30.40 

44.27 

Madras 

17,979 

27,827 

6,075 

34.65 

53.64 

11.71 

Mysore 

17,875 

15,130 

7,332 

44.61 

37.51 

18.18 

Orissa 

15,032 

24,310 

12,106 

29.22 

47.25 

23.53 

Punjab 

11,229 

12,252 

4,395 

40.28 

43.95 

15.77 

Rajasthan 

8,933 

15,117 

22,780 

19.08 

32.28 

48.64 

Uttar Pradesh 

26,168 

129,297 

80,090 

11.11 

54.89 

34.00 

Delhi 

190 

64 

35 

65.74 

22.15 

12.11 

Himachal Pradesh 

1,004 

6,988 

4,781 

7.86 

54.71 

37.43 

Manipur 

671 

484 

772 

34.82 

25.12 

40.06 

Tripura 

895 

2,741 

1,553 

17.25 

52.82 

29.93 

Total 

229,023 

370,962 

240,048 

27.26 

44.16 

28.58 

It will be 

seen that the 

percentage of habitations having 


no educational facility, even in the neighbourhood, goes on increas- 
ing from the higher to the lower population slabs. This is to be 
expected but there is a surprisingly large variation from state to 
state. The number of habitations that were without any facility 
for primary education, even within about one mile, was the highest 
in Uttar Pradesh (80,090 habitations). Madhya Pradesh came next 



112 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 


113 


with 36,380 school-less habitations followed by Rajasthan (22,780 
habitations) and Bihar (22,529 habitations). Considered with 
reference to the total number of habitations in the respective states, 
the percentage of unserved habitations was highest in Rajasthan 
(48.64 per cent) which was followed, in that order, by Madhya 
Pradesh (44.27 per cent), Jammu & Kashmir (36.42 per cent), and 
Uttar Pradesh (34.0 per cent). Comparatively, the position in 
Madras appeared to be the best as only 6,075 habitations (about 
n.7 per cent) were unserved. This was the position as on the 31st 
of March, 1957. The situation has certainly improved substantially 
during the past six years as new schools are being opened in school- 
less villages every year and it is in the proper location of these new 
schools that the findings of the survey have proved particularly 
useful to the states. 

Proposed Educational Facilities at the Primary Stage : The 

next task of the survey was to decide upon the location of new 
schools and to identify and enumerate the areas that would 
be served by these proposed schools. Location of a primary school 
was proposed, in the first place, in all school-less habitations with a 
population of 560 or more and then in all habitations with a popu- 
lation between 300 and 500 unless they already had, or would soon 
be having, a school at a very short distance, say, not more than half 
a mile away. After this was done, all the adjoining smaller habi- 
tations were tagged on to these proposed school habitations. An 
attempt was made to group together smaller habitations, round 
some suitable centrally situated habitation, and a ‘group’ school 
was proposed for them. On these principles, the survey proposed 
‘independent’ schools in 45,488 habitations (5.41 per cent of the 
total) with a population of 24.3 million (or 8.69 per cent). They 
had, in their vicinity, no other habitation that could be tagged on 
to them according to the standards fixed. ‘Group’ schools were 
proposed in 50,840 habitations and it was found that they could 
serve 105,121 adjoining habitations as well. Thus 155,961 habita- 
tions were proposed to be served by group schools. For extremely 
small habitations which could not have either independent schools 
or group schools, it was proposed to work on the basis of the scheme 
of the ‘peripatetic teacher schools’ first introduced in the old 
Bombay State in 1953-54. Under this scheme, two habitations or 


two groups of habitations, within a convenient distance of each 
other, but not so close as to have a group school, were selected to 
form one unit. The teacher moved from one place to the other 
(or from the central point in one group to the central point 
in another group) and conducted a part-time school in each. This 
school could be held in the morning at one place and in the 
afternoon at another, or on alternate days in the two places 
or for three consecutive days at each place every week, the day 
between the two periods being allowed for transit. As the 
scheme had worked with a fair degree of success in Bombay, 
it was decided to give it an extensive trial and the survey pro- 
posed 8,848 peripatetic teacher schools (inclusive of 1,888 existing 
ones) which would serve 13,602 habitations, with a total population 
of 1.7 million. 

The survey thus envisaged 332,311 (or 39.6 per cent of the 
total) habitations to have a school in them and 480,366 habitations 
(or 57.2 per cent) to have it within easy walking distance, and 
only 27,356 (or 3.2 per cent) habitations with a total population of 
1.96 million (or 0.7 per cent of the total) were left without any 
educational facilities in them. It is unfortunate that the survey 
could not succeed, in spite of all efforts, to include them in some 
school area or other. 

The final position as it would be reached after implementing 
the proposals of the survey, is shown in Table 16. 

Since the number of existing primary schools was 229,023 
against the total requirement of 332,311, a total of 103,288 new 
primary schools was needed. Their break-up according to the type 
of schools and states is given in Table 17. 

It will be seen from Table 16 that as many as 480,366 
habitations are to be served, not by a primary school in them, but 
by a primary school near them. The details of the proposals 
in this regard, which have been given in Table 18 show that 
236,016 habitations will have a school within half a mile ; 219,397 
will have it within a distance of half to one mile ; 22,940 will have 
it within a distance of one to one and a half miles ; and only 2,013 
will have it at a distance of more than one and a half miles. It will 
also be seen that most of the habitations so grouped have a 
population of less than 200 each. 

8 




.. 332,311 39.55 209,689,595 75.00 480,366 57.19 67,896,029 24.29 27,356 3.26 1,965,322 0.70 


UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 


115 


TABLE 17: NEW PRIMARY SCHOOLS PROPOSED IN THE 
EDUCATIONAL SURVEY 


No. of new schools proposed 



[ndependent 

Group Peripatetic Teacher Total 

Andhra Pradesh 

2,243 

2,220 

678 

5,141 

Assam 

2,163 

1,028 


3,191 

Bihar 

3,227 

7,511 

172 

10,910 

Bombay 

5,213 

3,063 

496 

8,772 

Jammu & Kashmir 

292 

605 

44 

941 

Kerala 

1,848 

303 

36 

2,187 

Madhya Pradesh 

4,030 

8,406 

2,458 

14,894 

Madras 

564 

1,225 

64 

1,853 

Mysore 

1,371 

1,730 

656 

3,757 

Orissa 

1,848 

3,793 

697 

6,338 

Punjab 

457 

962 

60 

1,497 

Rajasthan 

2,529 

5,444 

867 

8,840 

Uttar Pradesh 

19,567 

13,447 

455 

33,469 

Delhi 

27 

3 

*• 

30 

Himachal Pradesh 

61 

854 

12 

927 

Manipur 

39 

48 

105 

192 

Tripura 

9 

198 

160 

367 

Total . . 

45,488 

50,840 

6,960 

103,288 

Existing and Proposed Middle Schools : 
broad procedure described above in respect of 

Following the same 
primary schools, the 

1 1 • 1 . r 


Educational Survey made proposals for the establishment of new 
middle schools as well. It adopted the following principles for 
the purpose: 

(i) Habitations having a minimum population of 1,500 
should be provided with a middle school. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 



UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 117 

(ii) For habitations with smaller populations, those within a 
walking distance of three miles from an existing middle 
school should be regarded as served by it. 

(Hi) School areas for new middle schools to be opened should 
be planned in such a manner that habitations within 
a radius of three miles from the school and having a 
minimum total population of 1,500 or more are served 
by a middle school. 

The survey found that, on the 31st of March, 1957, there were 
26,267 middle schools. On the principles stated above, the total 
number of middle schools required for the country was estimated 
at 47*992. A total of 21,725 additional middle schools would thus 
be needed. When all these 47,992 middle schools proposed by the 
Educational Survey are established, they are expected to serve a 
total of 748,098 habitations (or 89.05 per cent of the total), and 
91,935 habitations (or 10.95 P er cent °f the total) would remain 
without facilities for middle school education. The details of the 
additional middle schools required, as well as of the final position 
reached when all the middle schools proposed by the Educational 
Survey would be established, are given in Table 19. 

Implementation of the Survey : These were briefly the main 

findings of the survey and even in the short period that has 
elapsed since its publication, it has become evident that it has 
served a very useful purpose. 

In almost all states, the survey has been accepted as the basis 
for planning the location of new elementary schools since i960. It 
is not claimed that it is perfect and flawless ; no human endeavour 
can be that. But the orders issued generally are that the proposals 
of the survey should be followed in establishing new elementary 
schools and that, in all cases in which a change is felt to be neces- 
sary, the approval of the Director of Education should be obtained. 

In one respect, the survey has proved ineffectual, namely, in its 
proposal for the establishment of peripatetic schools. In no state 
have they been established anew ; and even in the State of Bombay, 
on whose experience they had been recommended, their popularity 
has waned and their number has gone down. This, however, makes 

* The survey also dealt with the location of high schools. But that part of its 
findings is outside the scope of this volume. 



i8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


TABLE 19: 
FACILITIES 


HABITATIONS WITH AND WITHOUT 
AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL STAGE AS 
AFTER PLANNING 


EDUCATIONAL 
ON 31.3.1957 AND 


After Planning Position 


Number of 
habitations 


Number of 
habitations 


with schools with schools 


Habitations without 
schools 


in them near them Number Percentage 


Andhra Pradesh . , 

1,116 

3,161 

39,034 

8,528 

16.81 

Assam 

1,309 

1,721 

17,933 

15,888 

23.05 

Bihar 

3,294 

4,385 

103,926 

1,525 

1.39 

Bombay 

5,484 

10,250 

49,406 

16,495 

21.66 

Jammu & Kashmir 

262 

530 

4,380 

5,928 

54.70 

Kerala 

1,941 

2,172 

8,228 

260 

2.44 

Madhya Pradesh . . 

1,388 

3,868 

56,899 

21,411 

- 26.05 

Madras 

1,782 

2,372 

45,777 

3,732 

7.19 

Mysore 

3,526 

4,704 

34,119 

1,514 

3.75 

Orissa 

778 

1,811 

39,571 

10,066 

19.57 

Punjab 

1,303 

2,166 

25,322 

388 

1.39 

Rajasthan 

714 

3,110 

41,296 

2,424 

5.18 

Uttar Pradesh 

3,008 

6,943 

218,212 

10,400 

4.42 

Delhi 

59 

80 

209 

, , 


Himachal Pradesh 

152 

418 

11,271 

1,084 

8.49 

Manipur 

75 

100 

768 

1,059 

54.96 

Tripura 

76 

201 

3,755 

1,233 

23.76 


Total 


26,267 47,992 700,106 91,935 10.94 


only a marginal difference in the result of the survey because they 
served only 13,602 habitations (1.6 per cent of the total) with a total 
population of 1.7 million (or 0.6 per cent of the total). 

It is also necessary to revise the survey in the light of the 1961 
census. The most difficult part of the survey was the identification 


UNIVERSAL PROVISION OF SCHOOLS 110 

and enumeration of all habitations and the delimitation of school 
areas. As this basic work is still very largely useful, the revision 
will not take a long time nor involve heavy expenditure. But it 
would provide a basic policy document till the next census in 1971. 

The Problem of the Small Habitations : The survey high- 
lighted the problem of the small habitations. It postulated that a 
single-teacher school can be established in every habitation with a 
population of 300 or more. In some states, this limit has already 
been lowered to 200. If compulsory education is to extend to the 
age-group 6-14, this would, of course, be quite feasible. But even 
then, the total number of rural habitations with a population of less 
than 200 is as large as 443,390 (or 52.8 per cent of the total) and 
their population is 41.8 million (or 14.6 per cent of the total rural 
population)! This is a number substantial enough to justify the 
devising of special measures to meet the educational needs of these 
habitations. The problem is not unique to India. It has been 
faced in several other countries and, in the light of their experience, 
we can have some guidance in attempting a solution. Some of the 
solutions attempted elsewhere are too costly to be adopted, e.g . , the 
American experiment of central schools with transport for children, 
or the Swedish experiment of central children’s homes established 
by the State. It may, however, be possible to try out the experi- 
ment of the peripatetic teacher school, based on the Australian half- 
time school, or the itinerant school of Iceland which works in a place 
for six months a year. If such experiments have to succeed, a good 
deal of adjustment would be necessary. The schools will have to 
admit grown-up children, say of 7 or 8 years ; the curriculum will 
have to be simplified ; more suitable teaching methods will have 
to be evolved ; and a convention would have to be established that 
teachers of these schools will be young persons at the threshold of 
their service and that they would be transferred and posted in a 
bigger school at the end of five years of service. With such modi- 
fications, the experiment has a chance to succeed. What is empha- 
sized here, however, is not a particular solution so much as the need 
to evolve a satisfactory solution to this problem of small villages 
through proper research and experimentation. 



UNIVERSALITY OF ENROLMENT 


131 


CHAPTER 7 

Universality of Enrolment 

The establishment of an elementary school in a given locality 
creates only an opportunity for the parent to send the child 
to school. Whether the opportunity would be availed of and the 
child sent to school depends, to a considerable extent, on parental 
attitudes to education and on their economic condition. The 
universality of school provision is thus a necessary first step in a 
programme of universal enrolment. But it is not generally enough ; 
and in developing countries, special efforts are needed to see that 
every child is enrolled in the school at the right time. 

What are the factors which prevent the enrolment of all 
children in schools? Where the general level of literacy is low, the 
dominant factor appears to be the apathy of the parent, his 
indifferent and, at times, even hostile attitude to education, and 
his failure to see the ‘good' of sending his child to school. This is 
reinforced by certain social customs such as the traditional unwil- 
lingness to educate girls. In a fair percentage of cases, the economic 
factors also come into play and the child is not sent to school 
because he is required to work at home or to earn a little money 
to add to the family income. Programmes of universal enrolment 
should take account of these and similar causes of non-enrolment, 
with a view to adopting suitable measures to overcome them. 

Mass Literacy Campaigns : A very effective method of increas- 
ing the enrolment in elementary schools would be to liquidate 
mass illiteracy. The normal tendency of a parent is to give a better 
deal to his children than he himself had. A literate parent, and 
especially a literate mother, sees to it that his (or her) child attends 
a school. A mass literacy (or better still, a mass social education) 
campaign can, therefore, be the best ally of a programme of 
universal elementary education. Wherever mass literacy campaigns 
have been organized, the enrolment of children in elementary 
schools has necessarily increased. Moreover, when the parents 
become literate, they begin to take greater interest in the education 


of their children. Mass literacy campaigns thus lead, not only to 
increased enrolment in schools, but also to a reduction in wastage 
and stagnation. These programmes deserve high priority in 
educational planning, partly on account of their own inherent 
significance, and partly on account of the assistance they render to 
a programme of universal education for children. 

The importance of organizing mass literacy campaigns has 
been increasingly stressed since 1921. The Sargent Plan gave it a 
very high priority and, although its total programme of educational 
development was spread over 40 years, it recommended that mass 
illiteracy should be liquidated in a period of 25 years (of which the 
first five should be devoted to preliminary measures), and suggested 
that an amount of about one per cent of the total educational 
expenditure be earmarked for programmes of adult education. 3 
Unfortunately, these recommendations have not been implemented. 
A few attempts were made, since 1947, to organize mass literacy 
campaigns, particularly in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. But these 
were not sustained, nor did they spread to other areas. The pro- 
gramme of literacy or social education has become the Cinderella 
of all the Five-Year Plans, securing little attention and less 
resources. It is, therefore, still awaiting its own recognition as a 
factor in general development and in universalising education. 

Enrolment Drives : Another useful programme for increasing 
enrolment in elementary schools is the organization of enrolment 
drives. Although the idea is not new, it was only during the Second 
Five-Year Plan that large-scale and systematic enrolment drives 
were organized by a number of states. For instance, Bihar 
has organized enrolment drives on a State-wide basis, since 1959- 
The responsibility for the successful organization of the programme 
was squarely placed on the Education Department. But it was 
really a concerted activity of the State Government as a whole and 
the officers of all Departments participating in the drive. Before 
the drive began, detailed and careful plans were prepared in ad- 
vance ; a series of meetings of the Departmental officers were 
organized in order to orientate them to the campaign ; and full co- 
operation of the press and the leaders of the public was secured. 

1 Report on Post-war Educational Development in India , 1944, pp. 3 8 ' 47 * 



1 22 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


UNIVERSALITY OF ENROLMENT 


123 


During the drive itself, public meetings were held in almost all 
villages and towns, in which the importance of education and the 
need of sending all children to school was stressed ; children's 
rallies, in which parents and the public were also encouraged to 
participate, were organized almost everywhere ; the teachers went 
from house to house preparing lists of children of school-going age 
who were not attending schools and persuading their parents to 
enrol them ; and the assistance of the students and teachers of all 
high and higher secondary schools and training institutions was 
also obtained to arouse the interest of the public and to intensify 
the drive. The results were almost spectacular and the enrolment 
in elementary schools shot up by several thousands. 

The enrolment drive in Bihar had two special features. The 
first was the attempt made to break down the traditional prejudice 
against the education of girls in general and against co-education in 
particular. Parents w T ere exhorted to send their daughters to 
school and also to accept co-education at the elementary stage. It 
was in this sector that very good results were obtained and the 
number of girls enrolled in elementary schools, and particularly in 
co-educational schools, increased very considerably. Its second 
significant feature was the attempt made to induce the local com- 
munities to take greater interest in their schools and to assist in a 
programme of school improvement. This appeal met with tremend- 
ous response and donations were received in the form of land, 
school buildings, equipment and cash grants. 

Similar large-scale enrolment drives were organized in the 
states of Orissa, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the results 
obtained were equally outstanding. In fact, it may be said that, by 
the end of the Second Five-Year Plan, the organization of state-wide 
enrolment drives became an accepted method for increasing enrol- 
ment in elementary schools, for stimulating local community 
interest in education and for securing local support for school 
improvement. During the Third Five-Year Plan also, it has 
continued to play a significant role. In Uttar Pradesh, a state- 
wide enrolment drive organized during 1961-62 brought 800,000 
children to school in one year ; in the Punjab, the enrolment drive 
in 1961-62 enrolled 400,000 children ; and taking India as a 
whole, about 3.5 million children were enrolled in schools in one 


year as against an original target of 2.2 million. What is even 
more important, these enrolment drives seem to have stimu- 
lated public opinion so effectively that the enrolment is now 
being accelerated even when a drive is not organized. It, therefore, 
appears that the original target of the Third Plan, viz., to increase 
the enrolment of the age-group 6-11 in primary schools from 6.1 per 
cent in 1960-61 to 76.4 per cent in 1965-66 is very likely to be 
exceeded. 

One special feature of these enrolment drives deserves notice. 
When the drive is organized in the beginning of the school year, 
the enrolment shoots up very considerably. But not all children 
enrolled during the drive stay in the schools to the end of the year 

there is a drop of about 25 to 30 per cent in the next six to eight 

months. This is in a way not unexpected. In spite of this draw- 
back, the enrolment drives are useful because 70 to 75 per cent of 
the children enrolled in the first flush of excitement do remain in 
schools and the programme can be taken a step further in the next 
year when a second enrolment drive is organized. 

The Initial Cohort : The significance of the fact that fresh 

enrolment of non-attending children can only take place in class I 
is not often realized. It is open to the administrator to organize 
enrolment drives or mass education campaigns and to provide 
educational facilities on any scale he desires. But these will enable 
him to enrol additional children in class I only and not in any 
higher classes. Once the child is enrolled in class I, it is left to 
the child, and to the efficiency of the educational system, to see 
that he progresses from class to class in an orderly fashion. The 
expansion of elementary education is thus the result of two different 
processes: (a) to enrol all children of the prescribed age (i.e. 6-7) in 
class I, and then ( b ) to retain them at school till they complete the 
prescribed age (14 years) or the elementary course (classes I-VIII). 
The first of these processes means the formation of a good initial 
cohort and will be discussed in this chapter. The second implies 
the prevention of stagnation and wastage and will be discussed in 
the next. 

It has to be pointed out that the best results in elementary 
education are obtained only if the initial cohort, i.e., the group of 
children who begin their march up the educational ladder, has the 



1 / 2 4 E L E M E N TARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

right size and character. In size, it should be about 110-120 per 
cent of the total population in the age 6-7 because this cohort would 
consist of (1) almost all children of 6 plus who should be enrolled 
in schools, (2) some children of lower age who might seek admission 
on a voluntary basis and might be found fit for admission, and 
( 3 ) a few stragglers of 7 plus who somehow escaped enrolment 
during the earlier year. In character , it must have a homogeneous 
composition and should consist of children whose average age would 
be six plus with variations from five plus to seven plus at the most. 
Both these aspects of the initial cohort are very important and need 
some examination in detail. 

In India, the size of the initial cohort , i.e. the enrolment in 
class I, has always been large in comparison with the other classes. 
In relation to the total population in the age-group 6-7, however, 
its size, which was comparatively small in the past, has expanded 
considerably in recent years. This will be clear from the following 
statistics : 




1916-17 

1956-57 

1 . 

Total enrolment in classes I-VIII 

. . 6,789,572 

31,123,493 

2. 

Total enrolment in classes I-V 

. . 6,404,200 

25,964,808 

3. 

Total enrolment in class I 

. . 2,932,953 

10,282,811 

4. 

Percentage of (3) to (1) 

42.9 

32.8 

5. 

Percentage of (3) to (2) 

46.2 

38.5 


The enrolment in class I should be about one-eighth of that 
in classes I-VIII put together, on the assumption that the children 
enrolled in all the eight classes of the elementary school are equally 
distributed. Since this never happens and there is some in- 
evitable diminution from class to class, we may assume that in 
a properly organized system of elementary education, the enrolment 
in class I should form 15 to 20 per cent of the total enrolment in 
classes I-VIII. It will be seen from the above figures, however, 
that the enrolment in class I was as high as 42.9 per cent of 
the total enrolment in classes I-VIII in 1916-17 and that, in the 
last 40 years, it has only been reduced to 32.8 per cent! If the 
enrolment in class I is compared, not to the total enrolment in 
classes I-VIII, but to the total enrolment in classes I-V, the picture 


UNIVERSALITY OF ENROLMENT 1$5 

is not much changed. In a properly organized system, the enrol- 
ment in class I should be about 25 per cent of the total enrolment 
in classes I-V. We find, however, that the enrolment in class I has 
been reduced from 46.2 per cent of the total enrolment in classes I-V 
in 1916-17 to only 38.5 per cent of the total enrolment in classes I-V 
in 1956-57! There is thus considerable scope for further improve- 
ment and this can be done by reduction of wastage. 

There is another way of looking at this problem. What is the 
proportion between the size of class I and the total number of 
children in the age-group 6-7 to which it corresponds? The follow- 
ing statistics provide an answer: 

1916-17 1956-57 

1. Total number of children in the age- 

group 6-7 (Estimated) . . . . 6,344,549 10,360,974 

2. Total enrolment in class I . . . . 2,932,953 10,282,811 

3. Percentage of (2) to (1) . . . . 46.2 99.2 

It will be seen that, in 1916-17, the total enrolment in class I 
was about 46.2 per cent of the total population in the age-group 6-7 
and that this has increased to 99.2 per cent in 1956-57. This is 
really good progress, although there is still room for an increase in 
the total size of class I by about 30 per cent. 

Coming to the character of the initial cohort in India, we find 
that it is extremely heterogeneous. Children of all ages, from less 
than five to even 17 or 18, are found attending class I. The 
position in this respect will be seen clearly from the statistics 
appearing in Table 20. 

It will be seen that children in the age-group 6-7, who ought 
to form about 90 to 95 per cent of the total enrolment in class I, 
were only 23.9 per cent of such enrolment in 1916-17 and that this 
proportion increased only to 31.8 per cent in 1956-57. It will also 
be seen that the children of the age-group 6-7 enrolled in class I 
formed only 1 1 per cent of the total population in the age-group in 
1916-17 and that this proportion increased only to 31.6 in 1956-57. 
We have, therefore, a very long way to go if this heterogeneity is to 
be eliminated and the composition of class I made homogeneous so 
as to include 90 to 95 per cent of the children in the age-group 6-7. 



is6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


UNIVERSALITY OF ENROLMENT 


TABLE 20: AGE-COMPOSITION OF THE INITIAL COHORT IN INDIA 
(1916-17 and 1956-57) 






1916-17 

1956-57 

Age-groups 




Number of 
children 

Percentage 
to total 

Number of 
children 

Percentage 
to total 

Below 5 




146,569 

5.0 

97,286 

0.9 

5- 6 




543,174 

18.5 

2,295,174 

22.3 

6- 7 




700,420 

23.9 

3,270,736 

31.8 

7- 8 




603,210 

20.6 

2,266,888 

22.1 

8- 9 




402,994 

13.7 

1,244,326 

12.1 

9-10 




248,693 

8.5 

628,600 

6.1 

10-11 




132,736 

4.5 

297,207 

2.9 

Above 1 1 




155,157 

5.3 

182,594 

1.8 

Total enrolment in 

l class I 


2,932,953 

100.0 

10,282,811 

100.0 

Total estimated 
children in the 

population 

age-group 

of 

6-7 

6,344,549 

100.0 

10,360,974 

100.0 

Children in the age-group 6-7 
enrolled in class I to total 
estimated population in the 
age-group 6-7 

700,420 

11.0 

3,270,736 

31.6 


Causes of Heterogeneity of the Initial Cohort in India : The 

main problem in India in regard to the enrolment in class I is not 
so much the total size of the enrolment as its composition — 
the heterogeneity of age-groups which it reveals at present. This is 
due to two main factors. The first is that, while enrolling new 
entrants to class I, no conscious effort is made to enrol every child 
of the age-group 6-7. In the advanced countries, birth and death 
registers are maintained accurately so that educational planners can 
anticipate the approximate number of children who will complete 
six years of age at the opening of a given school year. Preparations 
are then made, well in advance, to admit all children of the right 
age and a conscious and intensive effort is made to enrol as many of 
them as possible in class I. Once this is done, there is no problem, 
except in a few stray cases of older children trying to seek admis- 


127 

sion to class I. The initial cohort in this class thus becomes 
homogeneous with an average age range of 6-7 and includes about 
97-99 P er cent °f the children in the age-group and a small minority 
of children (about 10 per cent) who are below or above the age- 
group. In India, the conditions are very different. Our birth and 
death registers are inadequate. New schools are being opened 
continuously in school-less villages and, whenever this is done, 
children of all ages flock into class I and have to be admitted. There 
is also no awareness of the problem among teachers and adminis- 
trators and there is no deliberate effort to develop a homogeneous 
cohort in class I to enrol most children of the age-group 6-7 
in class I. Consequently, the composition of class I becomes 
extremely heterogeneous. 

The second reason for this heterogeneity is the large extent of 
stagnation in class I. At present, less than half the students who 
join in class I are promoted to class II at the end of the year. On 
an average, a child takes a little more than two years to complete 
class I, and some children are detained in the class for as long as 
four or five years. Such stagnation would make a class heteroge- 
neous, even if it was quite homogeneous to start with. 

The measures that have to be taken to overcome the second 
difficulty will be discussed in the next chapter. To overcome the 
first, three important steps are needed. The teachers and adminis- 
trators have to appreciate the significance of making class I homo- 
geneous and enrolling most children of age-group 6-7 therein. 
Similarly, every school should be required to hold annually a census 
of children of school-going age within its area. The appropriate time 
for the census would be about three or four months before the new 
school year begins and it could be organized easily, and without 
cost, through the teachers. The school should then prepare a 
register of all children in the age-group 6-7 who are, and are not, 
enrolled. The preparation of such registers should then be 
followed by an action programme. In the first month after the 
reopening of schools, an attempt should be made to enrol as 
raany of these non-attending children as possible, by educative 
propaganda among the parents. If a programme of this type is 
sustained for about 5 to 6 years in every school, class I will enrol 
the vast bulk of the children in the age-group 6-7 and a proper 



is8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


foundation for the development of elementary education will have 
been laid. 

Enrolment of Children in the Age-group 6-14 : So far we have 
discussed the enrolment in class I and of the age-group 6-7. 
We shall now consider the enrolment of children of the higher 
age-groups. 

What percentage of children in the age-group 7-14 are actually 
enrolled in schools? The answer to this question is given in 
Table 21. 

It will be seen from this table that there has been consi- 
derable improvement in the enrolment of children in all the 
age-groups between 6 and 14. Taking the age-range as a whole, 
only 9.54 per cent of the children were enrolled in 1911. This 
percentage increased to 28.46 in 1951 and 40.10 in 1961. This 
is a great advance in itself. Looking to the individual age-groups, 
however, we find even better progress at some levels and notice 
some significant factors. The best enrolment has been possible 
only in the three earlier age-groups, namely, 6-7, 7-8 and 8-9, the 
total enrolment in these three age-groups being 47.34, 54 - 5 1 anc * 
51.19 per cent respectively in 1961. At the age of 9 or thereabouts, 
the child becomes economically useful and is required to work, 
either in the family or outside it. The enrolment, therefore, begins 
to fall from the age of 9 onwards. The fall is rather steep in 
the first three succeeding years, viz., 9-10, 10-11 and 11-12, the 
enrolment in these age-groups in 1961 being only 46.08, 39.53 
and 31.83 per cent respectively. The fall continues even in the 
two later age-groups ; but it is not so steep, the enrolment in the 
ages 12-13 and 13-14 in 1961 being 25.64 and 20.0 per cent 
respectively. 

There is another aspect of the problem which has to be noted. 
It is not enough to enrol an adequate number of children in the 
a g e -gr°up 6-14. It is also necessary to see that the children enrolled 
in each class belong to the appropriate age-group. For instance, 
the children in the age-group 6-7 should form at least 80 per cent 
of the total enrolment in that class. Even assuming that such a 
target cannot be reached very soon, it would indeed be a very 
modest demand to expect that the children in the age-groups 5-6, 
6-7 and 7-8, taken together, should form about 90 per cent of the 


TABLE 21: ENROLMENT OF CHILDREN IN THE AGE-GROUP 6-14 (1911, 1951 and 1961) 


UNIVERSALITY OF ENROLMENT 


129 



9 



130 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

enrolment in class I. Similar targets could be adopted for other 
classes also as shown below: 


TABLE 22: TARGET FOR ENROLMENT AND AGE-GROUPS 


Class 

Corresponding 

age-group 

Target for enrol- 
ment of the children 
of the correspond- 
ing age-group 
in the class 

Three correspond- 
ing age-groups 

Target for enrol- 
ment of the three 
corresponding 
age-groups 
in the class 

I 

6-7 

80 

5-6 , 

6-7 , 7-8 

90 

II 

7-8 

80 

6-7 , 

*-4 

CO 

CO 

1 

to 

90 

III 

8-9 

80 

CO 

8-9 , 9-10 

90 

IV 

9-10 

80 

8-9 , 

LO 

o 

o 

90 

V 

10-11 

80 

9-10, 

10-11, 11-12 

90 

VI 

11-12 

80 

10-11, 

11-12, 12-13 

90 

VII 

12-13 

80 

11-12, 

12-13, 13-14 

90 

VIII 

13-14 

80 

12-13, 

13-14, 14-15 

90 


On the above assumptions, the statistics for the year 1958-59 
have been compiled and given in Table 23. They indicate the 
extent of the task that has still to be attempted. 

This Table indicates the leeway that has yet to be covered. 
The enrolment of children of the appropriate age-groups in their 
corresponding classes varies, at present, from only 22.2 per cent in 
class VIII to 30.9 in class I as against a target of 80 per cent. Even 
the enrolment of three corresponding age-groups in the appropriate 
classes, taken together, varies only from 60.5 per cent in class VIII 
to 69.6 per cent in class II as against a target of 90 per cent. For 
the next few years, therefore, the expansion of elementary education 
should aim at two policies: (1) to enrol not less than 80 per 

cent of the children in the age-group 6-7 in class I which is the 
core of the problem of universal enrolment; and (2) to secure 
that the children enrolled in class I remain in school till they 
complete the age of 14 and also go up regularly from class 
to class, which is essentially the problem of reducing wastage 
and stagnation. 


TABLE 23: ENROLMENT IN CLASSES I-VIII IN RELATION TO CORRESPONDING AGE-GROUPS (1958-59) 




CHAPTER 8 


Stagnation and Wastage 

It was the Hartog Committee which first drew pointed atten- 
tion to the widespread prevalence in the system of elementary 
education, of wastage, stagnation and lapse into illiteracy. Using 
the latest statistics then available, it pointed out that, of the 
533^78 pupils who were studying in class I in 1922-23, 161,228 
reached class II in 1923-24 ; 86,846 reached class III in 1924-25 ; 
55*794 c l ass IV in 1925-26 ; and only 33,588, or 18 out of every 
100 that had entered the school five years previously, reached 
class V in 1926-27- This reduction, the Committee pointed out, 
was due mainly to two causes: wastage and stagnation. ‘Wastage’ 
was defined by the Committee to mean ‘the premature withdrawal 
of children from school at any stage before the completion of the 
primary course’ and ‘stagnation’ was defined to mean ‘the retention 
of a child in a class for a period of more than one year’. The 
Committe also pointed out that, while these two evils prevented 
all but a few pupils from becoming literate, it was not possible to 
say, with any confidence, that many of those who did attain some 
type of literacy, would ‘not rapidly relapse into illiteracy’. 1 The 
Committe, therefore, concluded that waste and ineffectiveness in 
the system of elementary education, ‘which should be designed to 
produce literacy and the capacity to exercise an intelligent vote’, 
was ‘appalling’ and recommended that it would be wiser to 
concentrate on a policy of ‘consolidation and improvement’, with a 
view to reducing these evils, than to go ahead with ‘indiscriminate 
expansion’ which would tend to accentuate them. 

Ever since the Report of the Hartog Committee was first 
published more than thirty years ago, the three problems of wastage, 
stagnation and lapse into illiteracy have been discussed almost 

1 This became evident when an attempt was made to correlate the census statistics 
of literacy with those of school attendance. For instance, the number of literates in 

the age-group 10-15 in the census of 1921 was approximately only half the number 
of pupils in the age-group 5-10 at school five years previously. Such a large dimu* 

nition could not be explained on assumptions of wastage and stagnation alone. 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


153 


continuously and a number of significant issues have been raised. 
What is wastage? How can it be measured? What is the precise 
extent of wastage — is it as large as the Hartog Committee made it 
out to be? What are the causes of wastage and what programme 
of action can be devised to reduce or eliminate the evil? In view 
of the larger extent of wastage in elementary education, would it 
be desirable to go ahead with still further expansion or would it 
not be better to concentrate on a programme of consolidation and 
improvement? These and other allied problems have dominated 
the discussion of elementary education during the last thirty years. 
Unfortunately, they have not been supported, either by the necessary 
research or by an action programme to eradicate these evils ; and 
in spite of all the learned disputations, wastage and stagnation will 
continue to dominate the scene. 

I, Wastage 

What is Wastage ? : The idea of wastage is relative in the 
sense that it depends upon the minimum target of attainment in 
elementary education. For instance, if we decide that a child must 
reach class V or VIII, every child who is withdrawn from school 
before reaching class V or VIII is a case of wastage. This 
determination of the level of attainment necessarily involves a 
consideration of objectives. 

One objective of elementary education is that it should 
produce effective literacy. The question to be answered, therefore, 
is this: At what stage in elementary education does a child attain 

effective literacy, i.e. literacy which is not lost in after years? 
Shri R. V. Parulekar attempted to answer this question by corre- 
lating statistics of school enrolment with those of literacy given in 
the Census of 1921 and 1931 and came to the conclusion that the 
completion of class II (this meant three years of schooling because, 
in those days, there was an infant class which preceded class I) is 
enough to impart effective literacy. 2 In Baroda State, a number of 
studies were conducted into the problem of lapse into illiteracy 
and it was found that a person attained effective literacy after four 
years of schooling. 3 In an investigation of the problem made by 

s p* P aru l e kar: Literacy in India, 1959. 

Progress of Education in India, February 1941, p. 377. 



134 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


135 


the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Poona, Shri D. R. 
Gadgil came to an identical conclusion and found that ‘as a 
minimum, it is necessary for a pupil to complete a 4-year course 
at school in order to ensure the retention of literacy through all his 
later life'. 4 It may, therefore, be assumed that, if literacy were to 
be the objective of elementary education, a child must spend about 
four years in the school and that a child who leaves before reaching 
class IV may be treated as a case of wastage. There also appears 
to be a general agreement on this issue because statistics of wastage, 
which are being collected and published since 1930, generally 
classify children who leave school before reaching class IV as cases 
of wastage. 

It would not, however, be proper to regard literacy as the aim 
of elementary education. Elementary education should prepare a 
child to be a useful and a responsible citizen of the country and we 
should, therefore, expect him to spend not less than 7 or 8 years at 
school, which is the minimum period considered necessary for 
reaching this objective. Moreover, Article 45 of the Constitution 
lays down that every child shall be provided with free and com- 
pulsory education till he completes 14 years of age. The second 
and a larger objective of elementary education should, therefore, 
be to enrol every child in school at the age of 6 or 7 and to retain 
him in school till he completes the age of 14. From this point of 
view, we should regard every child who leaves the school before 
completing the age of 14, or reaching class VIII, as a case of 
wastage. 

It will, however, take some years before this larger objective of 
elementary education is realized. For the time being, therefore, it 
would be desirable to concentrate attention on retaining every child 
in school for a period of at least four years and consider the problem 
of wastage mainly on that basis. For presenting a complete picture 
of the problem, however, we shall incidentally examine wastage 
with reference to the larger objective also. 

Extent of Wastage : The quantitative measurement of wastage 
is not a problem of great significance to the practical administrator. 
But a good deal of research on the problem has been devoted to the 

4 D. R. Gadgil and V. M. Dandekar: Primary Education in the Satara District, 

p. 67. 


evolution of techniques for the scientific measurement of wastage. 
The reason was purely historical. The British administrators of 
education were generally inclined to magnify this evil while the 
leaders of Indian opinion were of the view that wastage was not as 
large as it was made out to be. Controversies of this type naturally 
raised the issue : What is the correct method of measuring 

wastage? 

The earliest method used for this purpose and also the 
simplest — was to assume that, in any given year, the enrolment in 
classes I-VIII would be equitably distributed and then to compare 
the enrolment in all classes with that in class I, concluding that 
all dimunition from one class to another represents wastage . This 
method has its obvious limitations, especially because class II of 
the year is not the result of class I of the same year but that of 
class I in the earlier year when the enrolment was much less. The 
same argument applies to other classes also. The method is 
useful only as a rough and ready measure. 

The second method, which is obviously an improvement over 
the first, follows a cohort. That is to say, instead of taking the 
enrolment in classes I-VIII in the same year, it begins with a given 
cohort in class I and follows it up to class VIII through eight 
successive years. The measure of wastage obtained through this 
method is less than that obtained through the first. But even here, 
the effects of ‘stagnation’ are mixed with those of wastage. For 
instance, a child reaching class VIII in nine or ten years is classified 
as a case of wastage though obviously he is not. Moreover, the 
enrolment in class I does not consist wholly of fresh entrants (which 
is the assumption made in this method) but also includes a large 
proportion of repeaters. So does the enrolment in all the subse 
quent classes and hence the dimunition from class to class does not 
really indicate the real wastage. In spite of these drawbacks, 
however, this method is most commonly adopted, mainly on account 
of the ease with which it can be used and its greater accuracy. 

The third method follows a cohort on a strictly scientific basis. 
It begins with a group of children who are fresh entrants in class I 
and then follows their career till they either complete the elementary 
course or leave the school. The number of children who leave the 
school before completing the prescribed course is thus definitely 



136 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


determined and the percentage of ‘wastage' is calculated from the 
proportion of these drop-outs to the initial cohort. This is obviously 
the best method to measure wastage ; but unfortunately, very few 
studies on these lines have been carried out so far. 

The statistics covering the period 1911-61 (Table 24) show the 
diminution from class to class on the basis of the first method 
described above to which the available statistics lend themselves for 
analysis more conveniently. 

It will be seen that, as between 1911 and 1951, there has been 
considerable reduction in wastage. In 1911, for every 100 children 
enrolled in class I, there were about 20 children enrolled in 
class IV and about 3 children enrolled in class VIII while the same 
proportion increased respectively to about 38 and 12 in 1951. In 
1961, there appears to be a slight increase in wastage as the propor- 
tion of class IV goes down to 33. This increase is, however, more 
apparent than real and is mainly due to the fact that the enrolment 
in class I has increased suddenly on account of the enrolment 
drives which were organized in almost all parts of the country. As 
this method of measuring wastage is not accurate, these figures 
should not be taken to indicate the exact magnitude of wastage at 
these different periods but only the relative magnitude of wastage 
at these different periods. The conclusion that the extent of 
wastage has been decreasing progressively between 1911 and 1961 
is borne out by these figures . 

One special point deserves mention. Between 1911 and 1961, 
elementary education has expanded very considerably and elemen- 
tary schools have now been established in remote rural areas, in 
small and scattered habitations and even in the hills and forests. 
Moreover, children from the poorest sections of the community are 
now coming into elementary schools. Under these conditions, one 
expects wastage to increase rather than to decrease. If due 
allowance is made for this change in the social background of the 
average child reading in elementary schools, it will be evident that 
the ‘real’ decrease in wastage during the last 50 years is much 
greater than the ‘apparent' decrease revealed in the above statistics. 

The data for analysis according to the second method are 
available from the quinquennium 1921-26 and are reproduced in 
Table 25. 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


X 37 




138 


elementary education in 


INDIA 


TABLE 25: WASTAGE IN CLASSES I-IV (1921-61) 


Year in which 
the cohort begins 

Size of the 
initial 
cohort 

Percentage of children enrolled in each class in relation 
to the initial cohort 



I 

II 

III 

IV 

1922-23 






Boys 

3,453,046 

100.0 

35.3 

26.0 

19.0 

Girls 

533,878 

100.0 

30.2 

16.3 

10.5 

Total . . 

3,936,924 

100.0 

34.6 

24.7 

17.8 

1933-34 






Boys 

3,863,319 

100.0 

45.0 

35.2 

27.7 

Girls 

1,508,453 

100.0 

32.3 

22.2 

14.3 

Total . . 

5,371,772 

100.0 

41.4 

31.6 

23.9 

1955-56 






Boys 

6,659,637 

100.0 

60.8 

50.0 

43.1 

Girls 

3,298,468 

100.0 

55.3 

43.0 

34.9 

Total . . 

9,958,105 

100.0 

59.0 

47.7 

40.4 


The percentage of wastage, as calculated in this method, is the 
proportion of the number of children who drop out from schools 
before reaching class IV to those enrolled in class I, four years 
previously. It will be seen that the percentage of wastage was 
as high as 82.2 for the cohort starting in 1922-23 and that it 
declined to 59.6 for the cohort of 1955-56. There has thus been 
a considerable reduction of wastage during the last 40 years, 
although the extent of wastage is still large. 

The statistics for boys and girls have been given separately in 
the above table. 1 hey show that the percentage of wastage among 
girls has all along been greater. 

Information on the basis of cohorts starting in class I 
and reaching class VIII in eight succeeding years is available 
only from 1949-50. Table 26 shows the wastage in two initial 
cohorts — the first beginning in 1949-50 and the second in 
* 952-53 : 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


*39 


TABLE 26: PROGRESS OF INITIAL COHORTS IN ELEMENTARY 

EDUCATION— 1949-50 to 1956-57 and 1952-53 to 1960-61 


Year 

Class 

Total enrolment for 
cohort starting in 
1949-50 

Year 

Class 

Total enrolment for 
cohort starting in 
1952-53 



(In thousands) 



(In thousands) 

1949-50 

I 

6,901 

1952-53 

I 

7,395 

1950-51 

II 

4,332 

1953-54 

II 

4,700 

1951-52 

III 

3,534 

1954-55 

III 

3,780 

1952-53 

IV 

2,886 

1955-56 

IV 

3,216 

1953-54 

V 

2,240 

1956-57 

V 

2,635 

1954-55 

VI 

1,597 

1957-58 

VI 

1,990 

1955-56 

VII 

1,436 

1958-59 

VII 

1,794 

1956-57 

VIII 

1,232 

1959-60 

(Provisional) 

VIII 

1,533 

Wastage 

I-VIII 

82.15% 



79.27% 


It will be seen that, in the post-independence period, the 
wastage in classes I-VIII has been reduced from 82.15 per cent for 
the cohort of 1949-50 to 79.27 per cent for the cohort of 1952-53. 
It is obvious, therefore, that there is a definite reduction in wastage 
from year to year, although the rate of such reduction is small and 
the percentage of wastage still continues to be high. Of every 
100 children who join class 1 , only about 20 reach class VIII eight 
years later. 

Only two studies using the third method, are available, both 
from Maharashtra State. Their results have been summarised 
below : 

(1) Satara Study: An investigation conducted by the Gokhale 

Institute of Politics and Economics in the Satara District 5 showed 
that, of every 10,000 students entering class I, 6,388 passed class IV 
and the remaining 3,612 left the school before completing this 
course. Of these, 1,932 left in class I, 706 in class II, 504 
in class III, and 470 in class IV. This gives a wastage percentage 

5 D. R. Gadeil and V. M. Dandekar: Primary Education in Satara District, 
PP* 1-83. 



140 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


of 36.12 while the first and the second methods would give much 
higher percentages. 

(2) Poona Study : Another investigation conducted in the 

Poona District 6 showed that, of every 1,000 students entering 
class I, 414 left before completing class IV— 183 in class I, 118 in 
class II, 88 in class III and 25 in class IV. This gives a wastage 
of 41.4 per cent. Although this percentage of wastage is higher 
than that found in the Satara study, it is still much lower than 
the results given by the first and second methods. 

It is unfortunate that there is no all-India study of this problem 
nor any study of the entire duration of the elementary course 
covering classes I-VIII. But the Maharashtra data may be taken 
as fairly representative of the situation in the country as a whole. 
It shows that wastage in classes I-IV may be taken at about 
40 per cent. 

Causes of Wastage : What are the causes of this wastage which 
afflicts our system of elementary education? This enquiry is of 
great significance to the administrator because it is on the findings 
of such a study alone that a programme for action for the reduction 
of wastage can be devised. Unfortunately, most of the enquiries 
made so far have attempted, as stated above, to determine the extent 
rather than the causes of wastage. The only enquiry which throws 
light on the problem is that of Shri J. P. Naik when he investi- 
gated 10,000 cases of wastage with special reference to their causes. 7 
Its main findings show that the causes of wastage are economic, 
social, and educational. 

Economic : About 65 per cent of the cases of wastage are 

economic in origin. The child is willingly sent to school between 
the ages of 6 and 9. After g, he becomes an economic asset to the 
family because he (or she) can work at home, or on the family farm, 
or outside the family and assist in adding to the family income 
directly or indirectly. The child is, consequently, withdrawn from 
school long before he completes the elementary course. 

The only remedy for the situation is to improve the general 
economic condition of the people. Assuming that a family consists 

6 Indian Journal of Educational Administration and Research , Autumn iq(Jo 
pp. 8-15. 

7 Report on Stagnation and Wastage in Primary Schools : Provincial Board of 

Primary Education, Bombay, 1941. 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 141 

of five persons — man, wife and three children — the average earnings 
of the man and his wife should be adequate to support at least 
two adults and three children. It is only when this point in 
economic development is reached that the parents will be able to 
send children to school on a whole-time basis and also to keep them 
there till they reach the age of 14. At present, the average income 
of the parents is so low that they can hardly maintain themselves. 
Children are thus required to maintain themselves to some extent 
and child labour in some form or the other becomes inevitable. 

Social: Social causes are very important particularly when 

one is considering the question of wastage among girls. Betrothal 
or marriage, unwillingness of parents to send grown-up girls to a 
mixed school, lack of appreciation for the education of girls and lack 
of women teachers are some of the causes of this wastage. The fact 
that a girl is more useful at home than a boy adds to the difficulty 
further so that wastage among girls is generally greater than among 
boys. To remedy this situation, it may be necessary to adopt the 
system of part-time instruction on an even larger scale than in the 
case of boys. In addition, steps will be necessary to educate public 
opinion, to provide separate girls’ schools, wherever possible, or at 
least for girls in the age-group 11-14, and to increase the supply of 
women teachers. 

Educational: The educational causes of wastage are equally 

important and it has been estimated that they operate to the 
extent of 30 per cent. These include : (a) existence of in- 
complete schools which do not teach the full course ; ( b ) large 
prevalence of stagnation which discourages children from staying 
longer at school ; ( c ) dull character of most of the schools and their 
poor capacity to attract students and to retain them ; ( d ) absence 
of ancillary services like school meals and school health ; and 
(e) failure of the average parent or child to see the 'good’ of attend- 
ing schools. The sovereign remedy for all these problems is the 
qualitative improvement of elementary education, supplemented 
by an intensive programme of parental education. 

II* Stagnation 

Extent of Stagnation : Unlike the measurement of wastage, 

that of stagnation is comparatively simple and has aroused little 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


143 


142 


controversy. The Satara study was the first to point out that 
stagnation was a greater evil than wastage and that large numbers 
of students repeated the same class year after year. Its findings, 
on the basis of a cohort of 1 0,000 students entering class I, were 
the following: 

TABLE 27: EXTENT OF STAGNATION: NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS 

NEEDED TO PASS A CLASS 


Class 

One 

attempt 

Two 

attempts 

Three or more 
attempts 

Total 

I 

4,152 

2,121 

1,405 

8,068 

II 

3,477 

1,953 

1,932 

7,362 

III 

2,514 

1,954 

2,390 

6.858 

IV 

1,810 

1,768 

2,810 

6,388 

Total 

11,953 

7,796 

8,537 

28,676 


For measuring the extent 
adopted is to use the formula 

Index of Stagnation = 100 \ 1 - 


of stagnation, the usual method 

Total Optimum Years\ 

Used Years j 


Actually 

The expression ‘optimum years' is used to denote the total number 
of years required for a given cohort to complete the prescribed 
course on the assumption that every child will make normal and 
regular progress from year to year. For example, for a cohort of 
100 children entering class I, the ‘optimum years' required to 
complete the elementary course of four years would be 400. The 
‘actually used years’ are, however, calculated by counting every year 
spent in school by every child in the cohort. In practice, every 
cohort of students will be found to remain in the school for a period 
longer than what is denoted by the ‘optimum years’. For example, 
in the Satara study quoted above, the 8,068 students who completed 
class I actually used 12,609 years, 8 instead of 8,068 years which were 


optimum’ for them. 


. total optimum years 

The fraction is, always 

actually used years 


* Only 4,152 students passed the class in one year and used 4,152 years; 3,121 
students passed the class in two years and used 4,242 years ; and 1,405 students passed 
the class in three years and used 4,215 years ; thus making a total of 12,609 years in all. 


less than 1 and it is equal to 1 under ideal conditions when stag- 
nation would be equal to zero. The formula given above, there- 
fore, is a very useful tool for the measurement of stagnation and it 
takes several factors into account simultaneously: the size of the 
initial cohort ; the number of students remaining in the class after 
each successive year of the course ; the number of trials taken by 
each student for passing a class ; and the total time spent by the class 
as a whole to complete any given year of study or the entire course. 
It also makes statistical comparisons possible between one year and 
another, between one class and another, and even between one 
school and another. 

Causes of Stagnation : The chief causes of stagnation are poor 

attendance, inefficient teaching, defective method of examinations 
and faulty curriculum. Irregularity of attendance is due to the 
indifference of parents, and also to the failure of the school to adjust 
its hours and vacations to local needs. For lack of proper orienta- 
tion and training, most of the elementary teachers use unsatisfac- 
tory methods of examination and evaluation. The syllabi are 
generally over-crowded with inert matter and unrelated to the 
immediate interests and needs of children and poor teaching does 
little to animate them. 

III. Lapse into Illiteracy 

It has now been established that the incidence of lapse into 
illiteracy was somewhat exaggerated by the Hartog Committee 
which estimated it at about 50 per cent. The Satara investigation 
into the problem showed that the total extent of lapse into illiteracy 
is very small, only 6.6 per cent. It is highest among those who 
leave school in class II — 15.6 per cent; among those who leave 
school in class III, it is only 4 per cent ; and among those who leave 
school in class IV, it is about 1 per cent only. Literacy has to be 
attained before it can lapse. The assumption made in the calcu- 
lation of wastage is that a child attains literacy on reaching 
class IV. Children who leave school in class II or III cannot, 
therefore, be regarded as having ‘lapsed’ into illiteracy as such , 
and true cases of lapse are only of those children who leave school 
after reaching class IV. In their case, however, the extent of lapse 
is negligible. 



144 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


Studies in the problem of lapse into illiteracy have been, in a 
way, very useful. They have exploded the bogey of a mass lapse 
into illiteracy which was raised at one time. But they have made 
two other distinct contributions to the thought on the problem. 
1 l he first is to establish the stage at which effective literacy is 
attained and thus provide a rational basis for the measurement of 
wastage. The second is to invite attention, not to the problem of 
lapse which hardly exists on a significant scale, but to that of the 
non-use of the literacy acquired. After all, literacy is imparted 
for use ; and if it is not used as it should be, the mere retention of 
literacy has no practical significance. As the Satara study pointed 
out — 

A feature of the situation brought out by this investigation which appears 
to be even more important than the extent of lapse is the large current non-use 
of ability or skill acquired at school. It appears that in the majority of 
instances reading and writing habits are neither developed nor maintained 
and that the educational effort is effectively wasted even though there is no 
actual lapse into illiteracy. It is to be noted that a small proportion of even 
those who have passed the 4th standard examination, report no current use at 
all of reading ability and that a very substantial proportion of them report 
no use of it other than that required in domestic correspondence. This indi- 
cates that the problem is not one to be met by mere increase of standards of 
years at school. Similarly, it would appear that mere provision of passive 
agencies such as libraries could not materially affect the results. The per- 
centages of lapse among those belonging to 7th standard schools, and among 
those inhabiting villages with a population of 5,000 and above and among 
those who have stayed at cities like Bombay, make it clear that mere increase 
in facilities or equipment would not solve the problem. If the abilities acquired 
at school are to be used and to prove fruitful, their constant utilization must 
be stimulated by some active external efforts. These considerations are 
further emphasized by the fact that the incidence of lapse into illiteracy is 
specially high among the so-called intermediate and backward classes, among 
agriculturists and agricultural labourers and among the very poor. A further 
intensification of educational effort will increase the proportion of students in 
the primary school system belonging to the above categories. It is highly 
unlikely that such persons will of themselves take steps to prevent a lapse or a 
non-use of abilities acquired at school. Therefore, in order to ensure that 
expenditure incurred on the system of primary education is not wasted, the 
authorities must also accept the responsibility of providing for the stimula- 
tion and continued use of powers attained during a pupil's career at school. 
Our investigation indicates that a lapse into illiteracy, when it takes place, 
does so within a comparatively early period after leaving school. The efforts 
intended to be supplementary to the school system must, therefore, be planned 
to begin almost immediately after the pupil's leaving school. The work aimed 
at preventing non-use of ability acquired at school will thus have two aspects 


*45 

(i) some type of continuation work in the period immediately after a pupil 
leaves school, and (ii) actively aiming at stimulation and maintenance of 
reading and writing, etc. habits among adult ex-pupils. The continuation work 
should obviously be in the nature of extension of the work of the school itself. 
The second type of effort mentioned above would mean the branching out 
of adult education into aspects other than the mere imparting of literacy. 
Special classes for adults could, of course, be conducted and adult educa- 
tion also must, in any event, be linked on to the work of the rural school. 
Activities such as special classes for adults might not, however, be administra- 
tively or financially possible in all areas and localities. It would, therefore, be 
of the greatest help if the aim of the stimulation of reading and writing 
ability is constantly borne in mind in all the activities of the State. All kinds 
of rural development programmes might, if properly directed, help towards 
this end. What is really most required is that there should constantly flow 
into the village a stream of literature of the casual sort, circulars, notifications, 
leaflets, broad-sheet, etc. printed in an attractive manner, in bold type, contain- 
ing material that would really interest the rural adult. It might even be 
suggested that this aspect of the stimulation of reading might be borne in 
mind even in the drawing up and printing of ordinary official notices publicly 
exhibited. . . And it should be defined as the business of some agency, pre- 
ferably of the rural school, to get as large a bulk of the population as possible 
interested in the literature so made available 9 . 

TV. A Programme of Action 

We have now examined the concepts of wastage, stagnation 
and lapse into illiteracy and also summed up the main findings of 
the research carried out so far to measure their extent or to ascertain 
their causes. We shall now turn to the consideration of the two 
main issues raised in this context: (i) would it not be better to 

concentrate on a programme of ‘consolidation and improvement’ 
which would reduce these evils rather than go ahead with indiscri- 
minate expansion which accentuates them? ; and (2) what concrete 
programme of action can we suggest to reduce these evils to the 
minimum, if not to eliminate them altogether? 

Wastage vs. Expansion : The issue of priorities that is often 

raised between expansion and reduction of wastage is not very 
real. A number of assumptions are generally made in such dis- 
cussions, e.g. (1) the extent of wastage is very large ; (2) wastage is 
increasing ; (3) inordinate or indiscriminate expansion is the order 
0 the day ; and (4) that a programme of qualitative improvement 
must necessarily be based on a strict control of quanity. These 

PP 67^9. Gadgil and V - M - Dandekar, Primary Education in the Satara District, 
10 



146 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


*47 


assumptions, which were first made by the Hartog Committee, have 
continued to figure in our thinking as historical relics. But the 
studies into the problem have shown that none of them is valid at 
present. The extent of wastage is not as large as it was made out 
to be at one time and is steadily on the decrease. In fact, expansion 
and the increase in the rate of expansion have gone along with a 
progressive decline in the incidence of wastage till it is now about 
half of what it used to be 3° years ago. There is also little justifi- 
cation to assume that there has been anything like inordinate 
expansion’ in primary education. Table 28 shows the rate of 
increase in enrolment at the primary stage since 193 1- 

It will be seen that the average annual rate of increase 
of enrolment at the primary stage has only been about 2.1 per cent 
between 1931 and 1947 — just enough to keep up with the normal 
growth of population. This rate has increased largely— to about 
9-10 per cent in 1958-59 an( i I 959"6°> due mainly to the organization 
of enrolment drives. But taking the post-independence period as 
a whole, the average annual rate of increase in the enrolment at the 
primary stage has been about 6 per cent which cannot, by 
any means, be described as inordinate or indiscriminate. In fact, 
it is much lower than the rates of expansion at the secondary and 
higher stages of education in India and may even be described as 
disappointingly low in comparison with what has been achieved in 
several other developing countries during the same period. 

Lastly, it may be observed that the proposal to restrict expan- 
sion is mainly a negative approach to the problem of reducing 
wastage. This policy was, in fact, adopted by the Education 
Departments in India between 1931 and 1937 ; and the only result 
was a slowing down of the pace of expansion without any tangible 
improvement of quality or reduction in wastage. The proposal is 
advocated generally on financial grounds. But it is precisely on 
financial grounds that it does not succeed because the cost of the 
programmes of consolidation— which are recommended as an alter- 
native to expansion— is generally far higher than that of any 
practicable programmes of expansion. . 

Two other factors, one sociological and the other educational, 
have to be remembered in this context. In a stratified society like 
the one we have in India, expansion of elementary education helps 


TABLE 28: EXPANSION OF PRIMARY EDUCATION (1931-61) 


Year 


Total enrolment 
at the primary 
stage (in thousands) 

Increase during 
the period 
(in thousands) 

Average annual 
rate of 
increase 
(per cent) 

1931-32 


10,428 



1936-37 


11,466 

1,038 

2.0 

1941-42 


13,106 

1,640 

2.9 

1946-47 


14,105 

1,001 

1.5 



Post-Independence Period 


1949-50 


17,754 



1950-51 


18,678 

924 

5.2 

1951-52 


19,299 

621 

3.3 

1952-53 


19,802 

503 

2.6 

1953-54 


21,206 

1,404 

7.1 

1954-55 


22,622 

1,416 

6.7 

1955-56 


24,511 

1,889 

8.4 

1956-57 


25,965 

1,454 

5.9 

1957-58 


27,370 

1,405 

5.4 

1958-59 


30,041 

2,671 

9.8 

1959-60 


31,904 

2,782 

9.3 

1960-61 


34,721 

1,517 

4.6 

Average annual rate 
of growth for 1936-47 


2.1 

-do- 

1950-61 



6.2 


to bring into the school children from those sections of society 
which have not been brought under any educational influence so 
far. It would be wrong, therefore, to look for immediate ideal 
results and, in the first years of this expansion, wastage necessarily 
increases ; but it is an indispensable condition for further advance- 
ment. The incidence of wastage in the educational system due to 
this cause should not be interpreted as a sign of its weakness. On 



148 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

the other hand, it is a sign of its strength, of its effect to create 
equality of educational opportunity and to give social justice to the 
weaker sections of society. 

From the educational point of view, it may be pointed out that 
the very efforts to improve quality also tend to increase expansion. 
The net result of all programmes of qualitative improvement at 
the elementary stage is to increase the ‘attracting and holding 
power' of the schools ; and the moment they begin to be effective, 
the enrolments begin to rise because more children are drawn to 
the schools and every child that is enrolled tends to stay longer. 
Programmes of qualitative improvement thus become inevitably 
intermixed with those of expansion. 

Viewing the problem as a whole, it appears that restricting 
expansion to reduce wastage is an untenable approach to the 
problem. During the last 12 years, elementary education in India 
has expanded at about 6 per cent per annum. The Third Plan 
assumes an annual rate of increase of about 9 " 10 P er cent * But once 
this initial spurt is over, it may not be essential to maintain this rate 
of increase. The total enrolment in elementary education is estimated 
to be 60 million by 1965. If free and compulsory education is to 
be provided for every child by 1975, this enrolment will have to 
be increased to about 120 million. This implies an annual rate 
of increase of 7 per cent only. Universal education does not, 
however, mean ‘straining after the last truant and the emphasis 
on expansion disappears when about 85 per cent of the total 
population of school-going age is enrolled. On this assumption, 
universal education may be had by 1975 with an annual rate 
of increase of about 6 per cent only and this is precisely the rate of 
increase that has been maintained between 1949-50 and 1960-61. 
It will not be either desirable or practicable to go below this rate. 
The best policy in elementary education for the next 10-15 years, 
therefore, seems to be to plan on the assumption of a 6-7 per cent 
annual increase in elementary school enrolments as the minimum 
desirable target and to seek the remedies for the reduction of 
wastage elsewhere than in any further reduction of expansion. 

Programmes for the Reduction of Wastage : When it is 

suggested that a minimum rate of expansion in elementary educa- 
tion is both desirable and inescapable, it does not mean that the 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 149 

problems of wastage, stagnation or lapse into illiteracy are to be 
ignored altogether. On the contrary, it is felt that these pro- 
grammes should have high priority. A poor country can ill-afford 
to waste funds ; and no programme can have higher priority in the 
future development of elementary education than those designed to 
reduce these evils. All that is suggested is that this reduction can- 
not be obtained through the negative approach of merely trying to 
restrict expansion. 

What programme can we then adopt for the successful reduc- 
tion of these evils? The most frequent suggestion put forward for 
the reduction of wastage is the rigorous enforcement of compulsory 
attendance laws. This suggestion has been before the country for 
nearly 30 years, but it has not been found possible to work it out 
in practice. It is a very costly programme and implies the enrol- 
ment of all children of school-going age. The idea of ‘partial 
compulsion' — under which no child is forced to come to a school 
but a child who is enrolled on a voluntary basis is prevented from 
leaving the school before attaining the minimum standard, has also 
been tried, particularly in Mysore ; but the results have not been 
very encouraging. The basic fact is that the penal provisions of a 
compulsory education law cannot set at naught the operation of a 
whole multitude of social and economic factors. The problem of 
wastage is essentially social and economic in origin and it arises from 
the attempt to take education to social groups which are poor and 
culturally under-developed. Unless a broad attack is launched on 
these two fronts, the problems of wastage do not become amenable 
to treatment. This is amply proved by the experience of the 
Baroda State in enforcing compulsory attendance laws rigorously. 
A reference has already been made to this in Chapter 5. 

The most effective programme to reduce wastage in the 
elementary school is improvement in the general economic condi- 
tion of the people. A programme of free and compulsory education 
for all children in the age-group 6-14 cannot be super-imposed on a 
background of abject poverty. In fact, this programme is a fine 
index of economic development itself and it can succeed only if the 
average parent can afford to feed and clothe his children, to provide 
them with the necessary educational equipment, and to keep them 
at school till they reach the age of 14. This implies that the 



1 5 ° 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 


average wage of a man (and of his wife, if necessary) should be 
enough to maintain him, his wife and a family of three children. 
Today, more than 50 per cent of our adult population is not able 
to do so and that is why the help of the children is enlisted to add 
some amount, however small, to the family income. So long as 
this economic necessity continues, children will continue to be 
withdrawn from school and, as the studies into the problem have 
shown, about 65 per cent of the cases of wastage are due to economic 
reasons alone. It is, however, obvious that such improvement in 
the general economic condition of the people would take a fairly 
long time. In the meanwhile, the only alternative is to provide a 
system of part-time education, particularly to children in the age- 
groups of 9-14 or 11-14, so that they would be able to work in or 
for their families and also receive education. This is a very 
important problem by itself and has been discussed separately in 
Chapter 11. 

Another programme, which can effectively assist in reducing 
wastage, is that of adult or social education. It is unfortunate that 
programmes of social education have received a low priority in our 
Five-Year Plans. They really need a very high priority and a 
larger financial allocation on several grounds, and especially because 
no urgent plan of economic or social reconstruction can ever be 
put across except through an intensive programme of re-educating 
the adults. It may be pointed out, however, that programmes of 
mass education incidentally result in reducing wastage effectively 
because an educated parent, and especially an educated mother, is 
the best insurance for the proper education of his (or her) children. 
If only we can make the adults appreciate the value of education 
and awaken them to their sense of duty and responsibility to the 
rising generation, not only problems of enrolment, but those of 
wastage, stagnation and lapse into illiteracy would also be solved to 
a considerable extent. 

The third most effective programme for the reduction of 
wastage, and particularly of stagnation, is to increase the ‘attract- 
ing and holding power’ of the schools through the provision 
of better teachers. Given a good teacher, nearly 90 per cent of the 
problems in elementary education get satisfactorily solved. He 
contacts the parents and educates them in their responsibilities. 


15 1 

He makes the school so interesting that the children are attracted 
to it on its own merits and are most unwilling to leave it. Under 
him, they make such good progress that the parents feel proud of 
them and are encouraged to make that little extra effort which is 
needed to give them this opportunity to have a better start in life. 
Programmes for the improvement of teachers, for increasing their 
remuneration, for betterment of their training, for provision 
of better service conditions — these have, therefore, a high priority 
in elementary education, even above expansion. Unfortunately, 
these have not received due attention so far, not even in the post- 
independence period ; and one welcome change in our educational 
policies would be to concentrate on a programme of improving the 
general education, training, professional and social, status, remune- 
ration (including welfare services and old-age provision) and general 
service conditions of elementary teachers. This single programme 
will achieve the best results in making the teaching in elementary 
schools more effective ; and to the extent we succeed in this 
endeavour, the extent of wastage and stagnation will be automati- 
cally reduced. 

The First Year Class : Before closing this discussion, one 
important suggestion can be put forward : it would be very 

desirable to begin the drive for the reduction of wastage with 
class I. The one undisputed and significant fact which has 
emerged from the studies made so far is that both wastage and 
stagnation are very high in class I which thus becomes the problem 
class of the elementary stage. For instance, the Satara study shows 
that, of the total of 3,612 cases of wastage in classes I-IV, as many 
as 1,932 were in class I only. In the Poona study also, out of a 
total of 414 cases in classes I-IV as many as 183 were in class I only. 
Moreover, the diminution in enrolment between classes I and II is 
the highest in the entire system of elementary education and shows, 
not only a high incidence of wastage, but also of stagnation. 
Consequently, the total enrolment in class I is very high, being about 
4 ° per cent of the total enrolment in classes I-V and 33 per cent 
of the enrolment in classes I-VIII so that an improvement of 
class I is equivalent to the improvement of one-third of all 
elementary education. The problems of class I, therefore, deserve 
special notice. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


STAGNATION AND WASTAGE 




!52 

Why is it that wastage and stagnation are so high in class I? 
There are several answers. 

(a) Heterogeneity: Reference has already been made* to 

the heterogeneity of the age-groups found in class I. Since the 
age of admission to primary schools is 5 or 6, one would expect 
that most of the children in class I would be in the age-range 5-7 
with an average age between 6 and 7. Unfortunately, this is not 
so and the actual ages of children in class I vary from below 5 
to over 25. This heterogeneity is due to two main reasons: 
(1) Instead of admitting children of a fixed age, say 6 plus, 
to class I, children of all ages are indiscriminately admitted. In 
rural areas especially, several children start their schooling late and 
children of 8, 9 or even 1 1 will often be admitted as freshers to 
class I. (2) Even when children of the proper age are admitted, 
owing to the large extent of stagnation, several of them stay 
in class I for two, three, four or even five years. This again makes 
the group heterogeneous. It is very difficult in practice to manage 
a heterogeneous group of this type. The quality of teaching in 
class I is, therefore, adversely affected and very soon, a vicious circle 
is set up everywhere: the group becomes heterogeneous because of 
the large extent of stagnation and the extent of stagnation increases 
because of the heterogeneity of the group. 

( b ) Admissions Made Throughout the Year: Another 

reason which adds to the heterogeneity and difficulty of class I is the 
practice of admitting children at all times of the year and not at 
the beginning of the school year only. Consequently, new children 
join the class every month and when one comes towards the end 
of the school year, one finds that class I consists of 8 or 9 groups 
all of which are at different stages of attainment! 

(c) Irregularity of Attendance : By far the most important 

reason for the poor attainments in class I is irregularity of 
attendance. When a child is newly enrolled in school, he is at first 
unwilling to attend. The atmosphere in most rural homes is such 
that it does not generally create school-mindedness. Our schools 
also have very little attractive power. Consequently, the natural 
unwillingness of the child to leave the play in the street and go to 
the school is strengthened still further. The usual experience in 

* See Chapter 7, pp. 125-128. 


rural areas is that an average child takes about 6 to 8 months for 
what is called ‘being accustomed to attend school’. In this 
transitional period, his attendance is very irregular and most 
children really begin studies in class I in the second year of their 
enrolment. 

(d) Lack of Books and Slates : The children in class I are 

often without books and slates, especially in rural areas, either 
because the parents are slow to purchase and supply them or because 
they are often deliberately destroyed by the unwilling children. 
This adds further to the tuitional difficulties. 

(e) Size of the Classes : The average pupil-teacher ratio in 

India is 34: 1 (classes I-V). But since enrolments in higher classes 
are small, the size of class I becomes very large. It is not unusual 
to come across divisions of class I with 50, 60, 70 or even 100 
children. Adoption of the shift system would be a better alter- 
native under these conditions ; but that is not always done. In- 
ordinately large classes are more common in class I than what one 
imagines and they constitute a very important reason for fall of 
standards at this stage. 

(/) Defective Curricula: Still another reason for the stagna- 

tion in class I is the heavy curriculum that is generally prescribed 
for the class. A close study of the curricula of class I in different 
areas will show that they tend to be over-crowded even for a normal 
child. This is due to three factors: (1) lack of proper studies in 

curriculum ; (2) desire to make the syllabus comparable to that of 
class I in advanced countries, forgetting the fact that most of the 
children in advanced countries do attend pre-primary schools ; and 
(3) working the syllabus downwards from matriculation rather 
than upwards from class I. In fact, no area in curriculum-making 
is as sadly neglected as that of class I. 

(g) No Training of Teachers in Special Methods of 

Teaching: Teaching in class I needs special methods of teaching, 

particularly in teaching reading and the concept of numbers. But 
these subjects are neglected in our training institutions and the 
average teacher is not adequately prepared to handle class I. 

( h ) Absence of Fundamental Research in Reading: The 

teaching of reading is the most important part of the syllabus in 
class I. This is an area in which immense research has been done 



*54 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


in Western countries and is still being done. But so little research 
is done with the Indian languages and our methods of teaching 
reading are still very inadequate. The absence of this research 
also leaves much to be desired in the standard of textbooks for 
class I. 

(i) Wrong Placement of Teachers: Teaching in class I 

needs a carefully trained, senior teacher, preferably a woman. The 
methods to be adopted are half-way between the play-way of the 
nursery school and the formal teaching in a primary school. What 
often happens in practice, however, is that a young, weak and 
very often untrained teacher is put in charge of class I because the 
status of a teacher is correlated with that of the class he is teaching. 
Our wrong ideas of the status of a teacher thus result in giving this 
most difficult of assignments to the weakest member of the staff! 

(/) Stiff Examinations : In class I, it would ordinarily be wise 

to promote even a student who is a little weak, because he can then 
make up for his weakness in class II, Psychologically, a weak 
child deliberately promoted to the higher class makes better 
progress than the one who is detained. But this healthy principle 
is often forgotten and the annual promotion results of class I are 
as stiff as those of the S.S.L.C. or the matriculation examination. 
This has a very disheartening effect on young children many of 
whom just leave school or stagnate even further. 

(k) Bogus Attendance: There are also several cases where 

bogus attendance is marked, especially in class I. The name of 
the child is enrolled ; but he never comes to school. Still the name 
is continued on the school registers, sometimes in a desire to 
improve 'statistics’ and sometimes in the hope that the child may 
come one day. At last the name is removed, sometimes after 
months of waiting, and in order to justify its continuance on the 
registers, some bogus attendance is also marked. Thus 'names’ 
come and go from the school registers ; but such paper-work has 
obviously no reference to anything in the real life situation. 

The analysis of causes given above also suggests the necessary 
programme of reform. An intensive effort to reduce stagnation 
and wastage is long overdue ; and there is no better vantage point 
to launch it in than class I. 


CHAPTER 9 

Education of Girls 

Significance of the Problem 

The education of girls is the most significant problem in the 
expansion of primary education. At the end of the Third Plan, 
90.4 per cent of the boys in the age-group 6-11 would already have 
been enrolled in schools ; but the corresponding proportion of girls 
enrolled will be only 61.6. The obvious implication is that most 
of the future expansion of primary education will be concerned 
with the enrolment of girls. By 1976, the total number of boys 
and girls in the age-group 6-1 1 will be 41.1 millions and 38.9 millions 
respectively. By 1966, the total number of boys enrolled in 
classes I-V will be 30.1 millions and that of girls, 19.5 millions. 
During the Fourth and Fifth Plans, therefore, we shall have to enrol 
only ii. o millions of boys as against 19.4 millions of girls, if the goal 
of universal education is to be realized. The National Committee 
on Women’s Education (1958) was, therefore, right in pointing out 
that the problem of providing universal primary education in India 
was almost identical with that of expanding the education of gilds and 
that the utmost emphasis would have to be laid during the Third, 
Fourth and Fifth Plans, on increasing the enrolment of girls in 
primary schools. 

The position at the middle school stage is also somewhat 
similar. By the end of the Third Plan, 40 per cent of the boys in 
the age-group 11-14 would have been enrolled in classes VI-VIII and 
this would rise to 60 per cent by 1976. By the end of the Second 
Plan, the enrolment of girls in classes VI-VIII was only 1.46 millions 
or 10.8 per cent of the total population of girls in the age-group 
11-14 > an d, by the end of the Third Plan, this is expected to rise 
to only 2.74 millions or 16.5 per cent. By 1976, the total number of 
girls in the age-group 11-14 would be 20.7 millions and, on the basis 
of the present rate of increase, it may not be possible to enrol more 
than 30 per cent of this population in schools by 1976. In the age- 

1 Report of the National Committee on Women’s Education, 1958, Chapter V. 



! 5 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


157 


group of 11-14, therefore, much has still to be done for the universal 
education of boys. But the effort needed to enrol girls of this age- 
group would be far greater and more difficult. 

It would thus be evident that the problem of providing 
universal elementary education in India is essentially a problem of 
expanding the education of girls and of bridging the wide gap, 
which exists at present, in the elementary education of boys and 
girls. 

Historical Factors 

The reasons for this gap in the education of boys and girls 
arise from social and historical factors. Among the Vedic Aryans 
women had equality of status and educational opportunity with 
men. Unfortunately, this high level of status and culture was lost 
in the course of the succeeding centuries. By the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, the social status of women had sunk low. This 
depressed social status was accompanied by an almost total lack of 
educational opportunities. This is evident from the few official 
surveys of indigenous education conducted at this time. In Madras, 
Munro reported that only 5,480 girls attended the indigenous 
primary schools as against 1,78,630 boys (1822). In Bombay, no 
girls were reported to be attending the public indigenous schools 
(1824-29) ; but there is some evidence to show that a few girls of 
the aristrocratic families received education at home. In Bengal, 
Adam reported that the girls were never sent to school (1835). 
Punjab showed a better picture and reported the existence of 
women teachers and a small number of girls attending schools 
(1849). But even after full allowance is made for all such excep- 
tions, the conclusion becomes inescapable that the education of 
girls was almost totally neglected at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. 

During the last 160 years, this picture has greatly changed, both 
in social status as well as in education. Sati and female infanticide 
have disappeared. The average age of marriage has risen very 
considerably. Monogamy has been accepted and women have been 
given rights in marriage and divorce. They have also obtained 
economic rights of great significance. Pufdah has almost dis- 
appeared. Women have been given franchise and equality of 


opportunity in public services. They are no longer confined to the 
home. Thousands of women are pursuing useful and independent 
careers and a number of them have distinguished themselves 
in public life, in legislatures, in the public services, and in literature 
and arts. Finally, the Constitution has given women absolute 
equality with men and Article 15(1) of the Constitution provides 
that 'the State shall not discriminate any citizen on grounds only 
0 f sex’, and Article 16(1) provides equality of oppor- 

tunity for all citizens, men as well as women, in employment or 
appointment to any office under the State. 

Social status and education of women are interdependent ; the 
spread of education leads to improvement in their status which, in 
its turn, leads to still further educational development. During the 
last 160 years, therefore, there has been considerable expansion in 
the education of women also. The lead in this matter was taken by 
the missionaries who established the first girls' schools in the early 
decades of the nineteenth century. The movement soon received 
the support of Indian social reformers and began to spread. On 
grounds of religious neutrality, however, Government did not assist 
the education of girls till 1850 when Lord Dalhousie first gave it 
official support — an act which was confirmed by the Court of 
Directors in their Despatch of 1854. 

During the next hundred years, the need to expand the educa- 
tion of girls was highlighted in each review of education, and by 
Commissions and Committees. The Despatch of 1859 reiterated 
the recommendation of the Despatch of 1 854 to emphasize the 
expansion of the education of girls. Similar proposals were made 
by the Indian Education Commission of 1882, Government Resolu- 
tions on Educational Policy, 1904 and 1913, the Calcutta University 
Commission (1917-19), the Hartog Committee (1928) and the 
National Committee on Women's Education (1958). Each Quin- 
quennial Review of Education, while recounting the advance 
already made, advocated a policy of still greater emphasis on girls 
education. Partly because of this continuous official support and 
partly because of the rising status of women and the change in 
public opinion, the enrolment of girls at all stages of education 
expanded very rapidly after 1854. In 1854 the education of women 
had just begun. Madras, for instance, reported 256 girls' schools 



i 5 8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


*59 


with a total enrolment of about 8,000 ; Bombay 65 girls' schools with 
a total enrolment of 6,500 ; Bengal 288 girls' schools with an enrol- 
ment of about 6,900 ; and North West Province 1 7 girls' schools with 
an enrolment of about 400 pupils. By 1882, the total enrolment of 
girls at all stages of education had risen to 127,066, but as the Indian 
Education Commission pointed out, even in the most advanced 
province of India, 98 per cent of the female children were out of 
school and in the country as a whole, only about 340,000 girls and 
women were either under instruction or literate in a total popula- 
tion of 99.7 million. 1 By 1901-02, however, the picture had improved 
to some extent and the total enrolment of girls at all stages 
of education stood at 356,413. In the twentieth century, the tempo 
of expansion became faster still. By 1921-22, the total enrolment 
of girls at all stages increased to 12,24,128 and by 1946-47 to 
41,56,742. In the post-independence period, the education of girls 
made an unprecedented progress and in 1960-61, their total 
enrolment at all stages of education was estimated at 135,82,652. 

We are concerned here mainly with the progress of the educa- 
tion of girls at the elementary stage — primary and middle. The 
earliest detailed statistics available are those for 1881-82. In that 
year, the total number of girls enrolled in primary schools was only 
119,647 or 6 girls for every 100 boys enrolled. By 1960-61, the total 
number of girls enrolled in primary schools had increased to 
8.35 millions or 46 girls for every 100 boys enrolled. The gap in the 
education of boys and girls thus exists and is still very wide. It 
will, however, be noticed that it has been considerably bridged 
during the last 80 years. At the middle school stage, the earliest 
separate statistics are those for 1901-02. In that year, the total 
number of girls reading in middle schools was 34,386 or 11 girls 
for every 100 boys enrolled. Here too, the gap between the educa- 
tion of boys and girls is almost of the same order as at the primary 
stage. 

Unequal Level of Development 

The all-India statistics about the enrolment of girls at the 
elementary stage cover a very wide range of variations from state 
to state. At one end, the most advanced state in this regard is 

1 Report of the Indian Education Commission , 1883, p. 584. 


Kerala. Here, the enrolment of girls in classes I-V is already 
99.7 per cent of the total population of girls in the age-group 6-11. 
At the other end are states like Uttar Pradesh, where the enrolment 
of girls in classes I-V in 1960-61 was only 19.9 per cent (and is 
expected to rise to only 41.9 by 1965-66) or Rajasthan where the 
enrolment of girls in classes I-V was only 15.3 per cent in 
1960-61 (and is expected to rise to only 48.4 per cent by 1965-66). 
By and large, it may be said that the primary education of girls is 
fairly advanced in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Madras, 
Maharashtra, Mysore, Punjab and West Bengal, while it is under- 
developed in the states of Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya 
Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The following 
table shows the enrolment of girls in classes I-V in 1960-61 and 
1965-66 (projected). 


TABLE 29: ENROLMENT OF GIRLS IN THE AGE-GROUP 
6-11 (1960-61 and 1965-66) 


State 

Enrolment in classes 

I-V 

Percentage of population in 
the age-group 6-1 1 (estimated) 


1960-61 1965-66 

(In millions) 

1960-61 

1965-66 

Andhra Pradesh 

1.021 

1.880 

46.2 

72.7 

Assam 

.385 

.609 

48.0 

66.9 

Bihar 

.637 

1.800 

26.00 

54.7 

Gujarat 

.236 

1.101 

57.03 

71.9 

Jammu & Kashmir 

.037 

.078 

21.0 

34.2 

Kerala 

.845 

1.233 

99.7 

99.7 

Madhya Pradesh 

.368 

1.000 

19.3 

43.8 

Madras 

.942 

2.200 

58.0 

93.1 

Maharashtra 

.643 

2.170 

56.6 

75.3 

Mysore 

.468 

1.536 

50.1 

88.1 

Orissa 

.427 

.550 

23.9 

44.3 

Punjab 

.306 

.786 

36.3 

55.2 

Rajasthan 

.155 

.710 

15.3 

48.4 

Uttar Pradesh 

.788 

2.150 

19.9 

41.9 

West Bengal 

.946 

1.352 

48.4 

60.7 



6o 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


161 


The variations in the development of the education of girls at 
the middle school stage are also as wide in range. Kerala leads 
with an enrolment of girls in classes VI-VIII equal to 41.3 per cent 
of their total population in the age-group 11-14. At the other end 
come states like Orissa with an enrolment of 2 per cent or 
Rajasthan with an enrolment of 4.1 per cent. The states in which 
the middle school education of girls is comparatively under-deve- 
loped are Andhra Pradesh (due mainly to the under-development of 
girls* education in the Telengana area), Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, 
Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. The 
following table gives the enrolment of girls at the middle school 
stage in 1960-61 and 1965-66 (projected). 

TABLE 30: ENROLMENT OF GIRLS IN THE AGE-GROUP 
11-14 (1960-61 and 1965-66) 


State 

Enrolment in classes 

VI-VIII 

Percentage of population in 
the age-group 11-14 (estimated) 


1960-61 

(In 

1965-66 

millions) 

1960-61 

1965-66 

Andhra Pradesh 

.115 

.145 

7.2 

10.4 

Assam 

.065 

.105 

16.0 

24.5 

Bihar 

.140 

.185 

4.2 

10.7 

Gujarat 

.551 

.221 

13.8 

27.6 

Jammu & Kashmir 

.013 

.016 

9.0 

13.0 

Kerala 

.343 

.258 

41.3 

37.3 

Madhya Pradesh 

.087 

.080 

5.5 

6.7 

Madras 

.419 

.279 

18.3 

21.5 

Maharashtra 

.863 

.325 

15.5 

21.2 

Mysore 

.413 

.198 

13.1 

21.2 

Orissa 

.016 

.034 

2.0 

5.2 

Punjab 

.094 

.201 

16.3 

26.4 

Rajasthan 

.070 

.075 

4.1 

9.8 

Uttar Pradesh 

.104 

.160 

5.0 

5.9 

West Bengal 

.063 

.372 

10.7 

29.4 


In addition to these regional inequalities in the development 
of the elementary education of girls, three other types of unequal 
development are noticed. In the urban areas in all parts of the 
country, the education of girls has made comparatively more rapid 
advance, and the gap between elementary education of boys and 
girls has been very considerably reduced. But in the rural areas, 
the prejudices against girls* education are still strong, especially 
in states like Uttar Pradesh or Rajasthan. The general poverty 
of the people is also greater. Consequently, the gap in the educa- 
tion of boys and girls in rural areas is by far the largest. From the 
social point of view, the education of girls of the upper and middle 
classes is almost as highly advanced as that of boys. But in the 
lower economic groups the gap still continues to be wide, partly 
because of traditional prejudices and partly because of poverty. It 
may be said, therefore, that expansion of the elementary education 
of girls is needed, by and large, in the less advanced states of Bihar, 
Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh ; 
in the rural areas in most parts of the country ; and amongst the 
lower and poorer sections of society. 

Factors Impeding Progress 

What are the factors which impede the progress of the 
education of girls and create this gap between their education 
and that of the boys? Here are some of the more important 
of them: 

T raditional Prejudices : By and large, the traditional 

prejudices against the education of girls still operate to a great 
extent. This is particularly so in the rural areas and in the lower 
and poorer classes of society. 

Absence of Separate Schools: In several areas of the 

country the public is not prepared to send girls, even in the age- 
group 6-11, to mixed schools and demands separate primary schools 
for them with women teachers in charge. This prejudice against 
mixed schools becomes stronger at the middle school stage and a 
larger proportion of parents are not prepared to educate their 
daughters unless separate middle schools in charge of women 
teachers are provided. The State Governments are trying their 
best to meet such demands, but the main difficulty arises from an 


ii 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


163 


163 

acute shortage of women teachers, which severely limits the scope 
of expansion. 

Lack of Women T eachers : The traditional prejudice of 

the people against girls' education would be more readily overcome 
if women teachers could be provided. At present, however, there 
is an acute shortage of women teachers in rural areas. The girls 
born and brought up in rural areas are not educated enough to be 
qualified as teachers. The urban girls are qualified but are 
generally unwilling to go out to work in rural areas. Separate 
schools for girls with women teachers are demanded most in rural 
areas and it is in them that the shortage of women teachers is most 
keenly felt. 

Household Work : Another important reason which prevents 

girls from being sent to schools is their greater utility at home, 
especially in assisting the mother in the household chores — 
cooking, washing clothes or utensils, fetching water, etc. These are 
generally regarded as ‘women’s jobs’ and even if there are younger 
boys at home, they are not generally asked to do such tasks. On the 
other hand, a girl is expected to attend to these things, partly as a 
necessity and partly as training for her future life. Girls are, 
therefore, required to work at home and to assist the mother in 
cooking, washing, cleaning and in minding the younger children. 

Poverty : Poverty of the parents is another important reason. 

It compels them to use the labour of the children, either at 
home or in household agriculture and industry. Poverty also 
implies that, unless the parents make a special effort, they would 
not be able to feed and clothe their children and send them to 
school on a wholetime basis. 

Attitude of Men : The general attitudes of men exercise 

a large influence over the education of girls. Historically, girls 
began to be sent to school in larger numbers when men began to 
expect educated wives. This attitude is now universally developed 
in the middle and the upper classes but not in men of the lower 
economic groups. 

Child Marriages : Although child marriages have now become 

rare, the age of marriage in the rural areas, and among the 
lower classes, is still relatively low and girls are often married at 
about the age of 15. Even if the marriage actually does not take 


place, the betrothal is often arranged at an early age. It is not 
generally considered proper for a girl to attend school after betrothal 
or marriage and this very often prevents a girl from attending or 
continuing in school. 

Distance from Home : When there is no school in the 

village itself, children walk to the nearest school in some neighbour- 
ing village. Sometimes they have to walk a distance of one to three 
miles to reach a primary school and of three to five miles to reach 
a middle school. Parents generally have no objection to sending 
their boys to a school outside the village, but not girls. It is, there- 
fore, found that, when children have to walk to a school situated 
at some distance from the village, the attendance of girls shows a 
very sharp decline. It has not yet been possible to provide a 
primary school in every village and only a small percentage 
of villages have middle schools. The attendance of girls, therefore, 
gets reduced at the primary stage and still more so at the middle 
stage. 

Failure to Pay Attention to Special Needs of Girls : Another 

difficulty is the failure to pay adequate attention to the special 
needs of girls in mixed schools, which, by and large, they are 
required to attend. The girls do not generally get a good share 
in the co-curricular activities of the schools — which usually tend to 
be monopolised by the boys — and this happens particularly at the 
middle school stage when girls find it awkward to mix with the boys. 
The curriculum and textbooks are generally planned with predo- 
minant attention to the needs of boys and they do not, therefore, 
interest the girls to the same extent. In fact, the ordinary mixed 
school — whether primary or middle — does not have a great attrac- 
tion or holding power for girls. 

Programme of Action 

The programme of action to expand the education of girls and 
to bridge the gap between their education and that of the boys 
can be easily inferred from the preceding analysis. The more 
important aspects of this problem have been briefly mentioned below. 

Educative Propaganda : One of the most effective measures 

to expand the education of girls is to carry on educative propaganda 
amongst the parents to overcome their traditional prejudices and 



164 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

to induce them to send their daughters to schools and to retain 
them there till they complete the elementary course. This educa- 
tive propaganda can be organized in a number of ways. One of 
the most effective methods is the organization of enrolment drives 
in the beginning of each academic year in all parts of the country, 
and especially in rural areas. Such enrolment drives have been 
organized in the Second Five-Year Plan, in Bihar, Rajasthan and 
Orissa and the results have been good. Recently, they have been 
organized with equal effectiveness in Uttar Pradesh. It has also 
been suggested that a Women's Education Week should be observed 
every year, especially in the less advanced states and the occasion 
utilized for educating public opinion with regard to the equality 
of women and the need to provide them with equal educational 
opportunities. 

Co-education : Another effective programme would be to 

popularise co-education, particularly at the primary stage. Madras 
has now abolished separate primary schools for girls altogether and 
all its primary schools are mixed institutions, very often with 
a mixed staff, open to boys and girls alike. Kerala has reached 
almost the same point, although it still has a small number 
of separate schools for girls. Recently, Punjab has adopted co- 
education at the primary stage with great success. In a situation 
where separate schools are maintained for boys and girls, the utili- 
zation of staff is not fully effective. The adoption of co-education 
enables the Department to rationalise the appointment of teachers 
and effect an overall saving in expenditure while improving 
standards of education. It is, therefore, desirable to adopt co- 
education universally at the primary stage. 

It is realized that public opinion is not equally ready to accept 
co-education at the primary stage in all parts of the country and 
that, in some areas, separate primary schools for girls will still have 
to be provided or continued. There should, therefore, be no hasty 
attempt at introducing the reform which has to keep pace with the 
advancement of public opinion. But an endeavour should conti- 
nuously be made to carry on an intensive propaganda in favour of 
co-education and separate schools should be gradually abolished at 
the primary stage, during the Fourth and at the latest, the Fifth 
Plan. 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


165 

At the middle school stage, the resistance to the adoption 
of co-education would ordinarily be greater. Opinion in the 
country is also sharply divided on the desirability or otherwise of 
adopting co-education at this stage. There cannot, however, 
be any absolute rule either way. The situation has to be met 
pragmatically. 

An analysis of the statistics of enrolment of girls at the 
elementary stage indicates that the trend in favour of adopting co- 
education at the elementary stage is steadily becoming stronger. At 
the primary stage for instance, 66.7 per cent of the total girls 
enrolled were reading in separate schools in 1881-82. By 1921-22, 
the proportion of girls studying in separate primary schools was 
reduced to 61.5 per cent and by 1959-60, it had gone down still 
further to 18.8 per cent. At the middle school stage, 80 per cent 
of the total girls enrolled were reading in separate schools in 
1901-02. By 1959-60, however, this proportion had fallen to 33.2 per 
cent. It will thus be seen that co-education has been accepted, by 
and large, at the primary stage, and that it will not be long before 
it can be universally adopted. At the middle school stage, the 
demand for separate schools is obviously greater and stronger. But 
even here, the trend is clearly in the direction of a greater 
acceptance of co-education. As a system of co-education at the 
elementary stage is the best way to provide equality of educational 
opportunity to girls, it should be adopted as the general policy 
at the elementary stage with, probably one exception ; wherever 
possible, separate middle schools may be provided for the daughters 
of parents who have a conscientious objection to co-education at 
this stage. 

The main weakness in the present system is that the existing 
mixed schools at the primary and middle stages are not properly 
organized. It is this lack of proper organization from the point of 
view of girls that indirectly strengthens the demand for separate 
schools. If difficulties of this type could be overcome, if all mixed 
primary and middle schools were to have a mixed staff, and if 
special steps were taken to see that the educational and emotional 
needs of girls attending mixed schools are properly taken care 
°f, the demand for separate schools would be considerably 
reduced. Improvement of the existing mixed schools on these lines, 



1 66 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


167 


therefore, would be the most effective method of popularising co- 
education. 

Women Teachers : By far, the most important programme 

for increasing the enrolment of girls would be to provide women 
teachers. It is now universally agreed that women make better 
teachers than men at the primary stage. Even in the interests of 
the education of boys, therefore, it is necessary to increase the 
proportion of women teachers in primary schools. We should look 
forward to the day when, as in the advanced countries of the West, 
the profession of primary teachers would be very largely taken up 
by women. At the middle school stage, a mixed staff of men and 
women teachers is needed ; but even here it is necessary to increase 
the proportion of women teachers to half or even more. 

While this thesis is generally accepted, the number of women 
teachers is still very small. In primary schools, the total number 
of teachers in 1959-60 was 731474 of which only 125,184 or 17 per 
cent were women. In the middle schools, the total number of 
teachers in the same year was 292,132 of which only 70,024 or 
24 per cent were women. This shows that we have yet a long way 
to go. 

I wo reasons are responsible for this low proportion of women 
teachers. In certain areas, qualified women teachers are available. 
But the recruitment policies are not favourable to their selection 
and men teachers still continue to be appointed in larger numbers 
in primary and middle schools. What is needed in such cases is a 
change of policy. It should be laid down that a certain proportion 
of women teachers should be appointed every year so that their 
number in the total cadre of teachers would increase rapidly. Such 
areas, however, are few. By and large, it may be said that the 
number of women teachers is small for the simple reason that 
qualified women teachers are not available. This is a situation 
which has to be faced in most rural areas and in the less advanced 
states. Steps have, therefore, to be taken to increase the output 
of women teachers. The first and probably the most important is 
to enlarge the pool of girls under instruction at the middle and 
secondary stages. Special facilities such as hostels and stipends 
would need to be considerably increased, particularly for those 
who indicate their desire to enter the teaching profession on 


completing their education. The number of training schools for 
women teachers has also to be increased and they should be 
provided stipends in adequate amounts to undergo training for the 
teaching profession. 

As stated earlier, qualified women teachers are available 
in urban areas and it is in rural areas that their shortage is acutely 
felt. This problem is being tackled on two fronts. The first is to 
provide inducement and facilities to the urban girls to go to work 
in rural areas. For this purpose, village allowances are provided 
in some states, and quarters for women teachers are being construct- 
ed in others. The difficulties of a rural life, however, are so great for 
an urban girl that it is not possible to induce her to go and work in 
rural areas, even with such inducement and facilities. That is why 
the problem is being tackled on a second front and a programme is 
being devised to train up rural women as teachers. For this 
purpose, selected rural girls are induced to continue their education 
at the middle and secondary stages through grant of scholarships 
and stipends. 

The Central Social Welfare Board has started a programme of 
condensed courses for adult women under which women, who had 
left their education incomplete in childhood but who are now 
prepared to complete it and work as teachers, are prepared for the 
middle school or matriculation examination in a period which 
varies from 2 to 3 years. This scheme has been very successful and 
it is providing, in the shortest time possible, a group of mature 
women to work in rural areas, not only as teachers, but in several 
other capacities as Dais , midwives, health visitors, family-planning 
social workers, etc. The ultimate solution of the problem obviously 
lies in this endeavour to train up rural girls as qualified teachers. 

If it is not possible to provide women teachers in sufficient 
number, it has been suggested that a programme of appointing 
school mothers may be taken up. A school mother is generally a 
local woman, mature and understanding, who looks after the 
welfare of the girls attending elementary school. Not being 
qualified, she does not work as a teacher, but her presence on 
the school staff assists in making the girls feel at home in school. 
Good results have been obtained through the appointment of school 
mothers in West Bengal and Rajasthan. 



i68 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


Inducements 

Yet another programme for expanding the education of girls 
is directed to overcoming the handicaps of poverty or household 
work. If free books and educational materials, clothing and school 
meals are supplied to all needy girls, the attendance will increase 
very substantially. It has also been suggested that primary schools 
should have creches attached to them so that girls, many of whom 
have to look after younger children, can leave their charges there 
while attending to their own studies. On account of its cost, this 
programme has not been tried out on a large scale. But where it 
was tried as an experimental measure, as in the Vikasvade con- 
ducted by Smt. Tarabai Modak, the results were very good. The 
grant of attendance scholarships, preferably in kind, is also of help 
and has been tried with success. 

School Facilities 

As stated earlier, girls are unwilling to walk long distances to 
attend primary or middle schools. Attempts should, therefore, be 
made to provide primary and middle schools within easy accessible 
distance from the home of every child. 

Allowances to Teachers 

If intensive propaganda is to be done in rural areas and among 
the poorer sections of society for popularising the education of girls, 
steps will have to be taken to create a suitable agency for the 
purpose. One way would be to enlist non-official workers, parti- 
cularly women. We might appoint committees of non-officials at 
the district level and the block level and their members may move 
about for this propaganda. Where a system of village school 
committees exists, local women who are interested in education may 
be appointed as members and charged with the special responsibi- 
lity of popularising girls’ education. In the cadre of inspecting 
officers, a fair number of seats should be reserved for women and 
both men and women inspecting officers may be required, as 
part of their duties, to carry on propaganda in favour of girls’ 
education. 

It has also been suggested that attendance allowance may be 
given to teachers working in a school on the basis of the total 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


l6g 


enrolment of girls in that school. All said and done, it is the 
teachers in the school who come most intimately in contact with 
the parents. If a monetary interest is created for the teachers 
in bringing more girls to schools, they would certainly exert their 
utmost to educate the parents and to persuade them to send their 
daughters to school. This programme would not be very costly 
and may be a useful method of increasing the enrolment of girls 
in rural areas. 

Curricula and Textbooks 

In the early days, public opinion demanded almost a water- 
tight system of education for girls with separate schools, women 
teachers and separate curricula and textbooks. With the passage 
of time, this demand in its extreme form is no longer operative. 
Co-education is receiving acceptance and it is now realized that, in 
the interests of maintaining standards, boys and girls should study 
the same curricula and use the same textbooks at the elementary 
stage. There is, however, a feeling and not without grounds, that 
the existing textbooks and school programmes are not sufficiently 
attractive to girls. There is need for textbooks and illustrations to 
be so prepared that they reflect the activities and interests of both 
girls and boys. Much greater emphasis has to be given in the text- 
book and in the whole school programme to developing in boys and 
girls proper attitudes towards each other. 

Less Advanced States 

It was pointed out earlier that the problem of the elementary 
education of girls is acute in the six less advanced states of Bihar, 
Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar 
Pradesh. The total population of these six states is 44.26 per cent 
of the total population of India (1961 census). At the primary stage, 
it has been estimated that, at the end of the Third Five-Year Plan, 
these six states alone will have 7.489 millions of non-attending girls 
(which is about 63 per cent of the total of 11.872 millions of non- 
attending girls in this age-group in the country as a whole). Of 
these, Uttar Pradesh alone will have 3.042 millions, Bihar 1.486 
millions, Madhya Pradesh 1.305 millions, Rajasthan .759 million, 
Orissa .706 million and Jammu 8c Kashmir .191 million. It may, 



170 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF GIRLS 


171 


therefore, be concluded that about two-thirds of the total problem 
of enrolling girls in the age-group 6-11 is in these six states only. 

At the middle school stage, the less advanced states are still 
at a disadvantage, although the difference between them and the 
advanced states is not so conspicuous as at the primary stage. At 
the end of the Third Plan, the total number of non-attending girls 
in the age-group 11-14 in the country as a whole would be 
13.759 millions. Of these, as many as 6.577 millions, or 47.8 per 
cent of the non-attending girls in the country as a whole, would 
be in these six states alone. Of these, there would be 2.531 millions 
in Uttar Pradesh, 1.533 millions in Bihar, 1.101 millions in Madhya 
Pradesh, .671 million in Rajasthan, .609 million in Orissa and 
.125 million in Jammu & Kashmir. The less advanced states thus 
have a larger backlog to carry, even in this age-group. 

These states have, therefore, a much larger effort to put in if 
all the non-attending girls are to be enrolled within a specified 
time. They will also have to invest a much larger amount in this 
programme than the advanced states. They find it difficult to do 
so, partly because their resources are limited (their backwardness 
is not limited to elementary education alone), and partly because 
there are equally competing demands from other sectors. The 
problem, therefore, appears to be almost insoluble, unless some 
form of a special central assistance could be made available 
to them. 

The National Council of Women’s Education made a care- 
ful study of this problem and suggested that special central 
assistance should be made available to all states until 80 per cent 
of the girls in the age-group 6-11 are enrolled. The amount of 
the assistance should be calculated partly on the basis of non- 
attending girls in this age-group and partly on the basis of the girls 
of the same age-group actually enrolled in schools. For instance, 
75 per cent of the funds available may be distributed to the states 
on the basis of ‘non-attending girls’ and 25 per cent on the basis of 
‘girls enrolled’. There would thus be substantial assistance to the 
less advanced states and the advanced states also will get some 
credit for the effort they have already put in. 

Whatever the ultimate solution of the problem may be, one 
thing is certain: the education of girls in the less advanced states 


will not make rapid progress and the problem of universal educa- 
tion will not be quickly and satisfactorily solved unless some form 
of special assistance from central funds is made available to them 
to clear off their backlog. This is a major problem for central 
assistance during the Fourth and Fifth Five-Year Plans. 

The Role of the Centre 

The National Committee on Women’s Education has rightly 
pointed out that the programme of universal elementary education 
becomes almost identical with that of expanding the education of 
girls. It, therefore, recommended that the education of women 
be regarded as a major and special problem in education for a good 
many years to come, and that a bold and determined effort be 
made to face its difficulties and to close the existing gap between 
the education of men and women in as short a time as possible. It 
also suggested that the highest priority should be given to the 
programmes of expanding the elementary education of girls and 
that the funds required for the purpose should be considered to be 
the first charge on the sums set aside for educational development. 
Since such a major national policy in planning can only be 
determined by the Centre, the Committee made the following 
significant recommendations to implement this suggestion: 

The problem of the education of women is so vital and of such great national 
significance that it is absolutely necessary for the Centre to assume more res- 
ponsibility for its rapid development. This responsibility will be three-fold: 
(i) It should be a responsibility of the Centre to see that parity between the 
education of boys and girls is reached as early as possible, and also to see 
that the education of girls and women is developed evenly in all parts of 
the country ; 

(ii) The Centre should prescribe targets to be attained and also guide the 
states in preparing comprehensive development plans for the education 
of girls and women in their areas ; 

(hi) The Centre should assist the states financially in implementing the 
approved plans. 

This recommendation has been opposed in certain quarters on 
the ground that education is a state subject and that the net effect 
of this recommendation would be to transfer responsibility for the 
elementary education of girls from the states to the Centre. A little 
closer analysis will show that this criticism is not quite justified. 
Under article 46 of the Constitution, the Centre has a responsibility 



172 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


for the weaker sections of the people. Women definitely constitute 
a 'weaker section' and are thus entitled to claim some measure of 
central assistance as a matter of right. Besides, the Union Govern- 
ment has a responsibility to see that an equitable standard of social 
service is maintained in all parts of the country and that equal 
educational opportunity is provided in all areas. It would, there- 
fore, be quite in order to suggest that the Centre should assume 
special responsibility for the education of girls, just as it has 
assumed a large measure of responsibility for the education of the 
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. 

A Challenge and an Opportunity 

The education of girls is even more important than that of 
boys because 'to educate a man is to educate an individual, while 
to educate a woman is to educate a whole family'. This unique 
significance of the problem and its immense magnitude as shown 
in the opening paragraphs, make the universalisation of elementary 
education of girls a great challenge for us all. Like all other 
sectors of education, it will need a much larger allocation of funds 
for its development ; but this is a sector where money is of less 
importance than devoted social work. The education of girls will 
not advance by providing funds or constructing buildings or 
supplying equipment, though all these programmes are essential. 
It needs the creation of a devoted band of competent women 
teachers who are willing to work in rural areas. It implies the re- 
education of men : the changing of attitudes of millions of illiterate 
men and making them appreciate the basic equality of women and 
the need to play fair with them by providing equality of educational 
opportunity to boys and girls. It also means the awakening of 
millions of women to a keener awareness of their own selves and 
of the need to seek a larger way of life through education. In 
this sector, therefore, these psychological and social changes are of 
far greater significance than financial outlays, and they can be 
brought about only through the work of inspired and devoted 
individuals, men and women. 


CHAPTER 10 

Education of the Backward Classes 

From the social and economic point of view, the education of 
the backward classes stands next in order of importance to that of 
girls and women, and unless its problems are squarely faced and 
satisfactorily solved, it will not be possible to provide univer- 
sal elementary education. The term 'backward classes' includes 
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, denotified tribes, nomadic 
tribes and other backward classes. Of these, the 'scheduled castes' 
include all those castes amongst Hindus which were traditionally 
regarded as 'untouchable'. The ‘scheduled tribes’ include all the 
aboriginal and hill tribes of India. The 'denotified' tribes are 
those which, prior to independence, were designated as 'criminal 
tribes' because most of them indulged in anti-social activities as a 
way of life. The 'nomadic tribes' are those which have no 
permanent home and which roam in the country from one area 
to another in search of food or employment. The 'other backward 
classes’ are a group of miscellaneous castes which are economically 
poor and socially and culturally backward for some reason or the 
other. The delimitation of this group varies from state to state 
and is a little amorphous. It is, therefore, proposed to exclude it 
from this study and to discuss only the problems of elementary 
education of the other groups. 

I. The Scheduled Castes 

The scheduled castes, according to the census of 1961, 
numbered about 64.5 millions or 14.7 per cent of the total popula- 
tion of the country. Having been regarded as 'untouchables' for 
centuries, they were socially segregated and denied all opportunities 
of education. Consequently, they became the poorest and the most 
backward group in society. In the system of indigenous education, 
which prevailed in the country at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century, no pupils from these castes were found to be attending 
schools. Their social amelioration and educational advance are 



*74 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 


m 


thus an essentially modern phenomenon due to the renaissance in 
Hindu society which came in the wake of its contact with the West. 

Government Schools are Thrown Open to the Scheduled 
Castes (1858) : Perhaps the first and the most crucial step taken in 
the education of the scheduled castes was to throw the Government 
schools open to them. The earlier official schools established by 
the British Government did not admit the children of scheduled 
castes because the policy of Government was to educate only the 
upper classes, and culture was supposed to ‘filter down’ from them 
to the lower classes. Moreover, if any such children were admitted, 
the upper classes, who were the only school-minded classes of the 
day, would have boycotted the schools completely. Even the 
teachers, who were mostly Brahmins, would have refused to teach 
the scheduled caste children. Government was unwilling to fight 
such prejudices on grounds of religious neutrality. The scheduled 
caste pupils, therefore, received their first education in the mission 
schools, but these were few and far between and the problem of 
their education could not have been solved except by admitting 
them to Government schools. 

The battle to throw the Government schools open to the 
children of the scheduled castes had, therefore, to be fought and 
won as the first landmark in the education of this unhappy social 
group. The honour of fighting it goes to an unknown Harijan of 
Dharwar who, as early as 1856, applied for admission of his son to 
the local government school. His application was not granted. The 
matter, however, was sent up to the Government of India and even 
to the Court of Directors who ultimately decided that the educa- 
tional institutions of Government must be open to all classes and 
communities. The story of this historic fight is thus narrated by 
the Director of Public Instruction, Bombay, in his Report for 
1856-57 : 

The only case as yet brought before Government in which the question as 
to admission of pupils of the lowest castes into Government schools has been 
raised, was that of a Mahar boy, on whose behalf a petition was submitted 
to the Government in June 1856, complaining that, though willing to pay 
the usual schooling fee, he had been denied admission to the Dharwar Govern- 
ment school. On this occasion. Government felt that great practical difficulty 
attended the adjudication of a question in which was involved the general 
feeling of the mass of natives for whose enlightenment, to the greatest possible 
extent, the Government Educational Department has been established ; and it 


was decided, though (as will appear from the Resolution passed at that time) 
with some hesitation, that it would not be right for the sake of a single indivi- 
dual, the only Mahar who had ever yet come forward to beg for admission into 
a school attended only by pupils of caste, to force him into association with 
them, at the probable risk of making the institution practically useless to the 
great mass of natives. 

These proceedings of the Government were noticed, in the 
following terms, by the Government of India in their letter 
No. 111, dated 23rd January, 1857: 

It appears that a boy of the Mahar caste applied for admission to the Govern- 
ment school at Dharwar, and was rejected on the ground of caste, and on that 
alone. Having appealed in vain to the authorities in the Education Depart- 
ment, he petitioned the Government. The Government referred his petition 
to the Director for report ; and Mr. Erskine, though admitting that the 
petitioner has reason and justice on his side, begged that the practical question 
might not be pushed to a decision immediately, being apprehensive that the 
admission of low caste boys to the Government schools might do more harm 
than good. The Government acquiesced in the Director’s views, and informed 
the petitioner that they could not at present interfere in his behalf. The 
Governor-General in Council thinks it very probable that the Bombay Govern- 
ment have acted wisely in this matter ; but he desires me to say that the boy 
would not have been refused admission to any Government school in the 
Presidency of Bengal. 

The matter did not rest here. In its letter of the 20th of May, 

1 857. the Government of India submitted the entire correspondence 
on the subject to the Court of Directors, who passed the following 
orders in their Despatch No. 58, dated the 28th of April, 1958: 

The educational institutions of Government are intended by us to be open 
to all classes, and we cannot depart from a principle which is essentially sound, 
and the maintenance of which is of the first importance. It is not impossible 
that, in some cases, the enforcement of the principle may be followed by a 
withdrawal of a portion of the scholars ; but it is sufficient to remark that 
those persons who object to its practical enforcement will be at liberty to 
withhold their contributions and apply their funds to the formation of schools 
on a different basis. 

Developments Between 1858 and iqzi : On receipt of these 

orders, all the Education Departments in India adopted a rule 
to the effect that children from the scheduled castes shall 
be admitted to all government schools. It was not, however, 
immediately practicable to enforce it rigorously and several cases 
are on record where the entire school was deserted because 
of admission of a scheduled caste student. In order to meet 
these difficulties, two methods were usually adopted: (1) separate 



1^6 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

government schools for the scheduled caste children were estab- 
lished, wherever possible ; and (2) special encouragement was given 
to missionary institutions to undertake the education of the 
scheduled castes. But the progress was very slow and the Indian 
Education Commission found, in 1881-82, that the education of the 
scheduled castes was almost totally neglected. It, therefore, 
examined the problem in some detail and made two recommenda- 
tions : (i) the establishment of special schools or classes for children 
of scheduled castes should be liberally encouraged in places where 
there are a sufficient number of such children to form separate 
schools or classes and/or where the schools maintained from public 
funds do not sufficiently provide for their education ; and (ii) every 
institution, maintained by or receiving aid from public funds, 
whether provincial, municipal or local, should not refuse admission 
to a child of the scheduled castes on the ground of caste alone. The 
second of these recommendations is important, mainly because it 
threw open aided schools also to the scheduled castes. This was a 
great step ahead, especially as most of the secondary and higher 
education was provided by private enterprise. Both these recom- 
mendations were accepted by Government with the result that 
there was much better progress in the education of the scheduled 
castes in subsequent years. 

Between 1882 and 1921, the Education Departments tried to 
promote the education of the scheduled castes in two ways. The 
first of these was to continue and to expand the old practice of 
establishing separate schools for the scheduled castes. These were 
generally established, either in the scheduled castes’ localities or 
very near to them. In the initial stages, teachers could only be 
found with great difficulty because the caste Hindus, as a rule, were 
not prepared to work in these institutions. But very soon, the 
scheduled caste boys were assisted, through scholarships and 
stipends, to complete their middle school education and to become 
teachers. At a time when the traditional prejudices about untouch- 
ability were very strong, this method served a very useful purpose of 
bringing education to the scheduled castes. But it did very little 
to cut down the rigours of untouchability. Moreover, it did not make 
much headway because, in spite of all that could be done, 
the number of separate schools organized for the scheduled castes 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 177 

was very small, mainly because the availability of teachers was 
limited. 

A more common method now adopted to educate them, 
however, was to admit the scheduled caste children to the common 
schools. But since untouchability was still strong, and it was no 
responsibility of an alien’ Government to fight for its eradication, 
several uneducational practices were permitted or connived at. For 
instance, the scheduled caste children generally sat apart and did 
not mix with other children. If the school happened to be held in 
a temple, they were compelled to sit outside. Very often, even the 
teachers refused to touch them and when the need to punish them 
arose, they were usually required to punish each other in accordance 
with the directives of the teacher. The Department connived at 
such practices and even the school regulations merely provided that 
the scheduled caste children should have 'due protection from the 
sun, wind and rain’ and should receive 'an adequate share of the 
instruction provided by the school’. In spite of these difficulties, 
however, the desire for education among the scheduled castes began 
to grow and the number of children attending common schools 
continually increased. The following statistics of 1921-22 show the 
enrolment of scheduled castes at different stages of education: 


TABLE 31: ENROLMENT OF SCHEDULED CASTES (1921-22) 



Total enrolment of all 
communities 

Enrolment from 
scheduled castes 

Percentage of 
scheduled castes 
to total 


Male 

Female 

Male 

Female 

Male 

Female 

College Stage 

57,610 

1,227 

322 

2 

0.5 

0.2 

High Stage 

212,788 

5,818 

2,892 

40 

1.3 

0.7 

Middle Stage 

410,255 

24,555 

7,082 

454 

1.7 

1.8 

Upper Primary 
Stage 

495,784 

50,682 

16,479 

1,206 

3.3 

2.4 

Lower Primary 
Stage 

5,103,720 

1,246,961 

429,981 

64,587 

8.4 

5.2 

Special Schools . . 

121,140 

11,599 

2,105 

566 

1.7 

4.9 

Private Institutions 

561,545 

77,580 

11,017 

1,521 

1.9 

1.9 

Grand Total . . 

6,962,842 

1,418,422 

469,878 

68,376 

6.7 

4.8 


12 



178 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 


»79 


The scheduled caste population was about 15 per cent of the 
total population of India at this period. The above statistics will, 
therefore, show how underdeveloped the education of the scheduled 
castes was at this period. Even at the lower primary stage, where 
about 90 per cent of the scheduled caste children were enrolled, 
the proportion of their enrolment to the total was only 8.4 per cent 
for boys and 5.2 per cent for girls. Owing to poverty and failure 
to appreciate the advantages of education, the extent of wastage was 
extremely large and the enrolment of pupils fell very sharply at 
each succeeding stage. The enrolment at the secondary and 
collegiate stages was extremely poor, particularly amongst girls. In 
spite of these meagre enrolments and the large prevalence of 
wastage, however, it may be said that the education of the scheduled 
castes made a fair beginning by 1921-22. 

Developments between 1921 and 1961 : A new era in the 
history of the education of the scheduled castes began with 
the transfer of education to Indian control in 1921. It was 
now realized that the problem of the social amelioration and 
education of the scheduled castes was inextricably bound up with 
the abolition of untouchability and that an attempt had to be made 
to abolish untouchability itself if the education of these castes was 
to be placed on a proper footing. The policy of religious neutrality 
which had prevented the British Government from attacking the 
problem on this bold front did not bind the Indian Ministers of 
Education. They, therefore, initiated a new policy which led to a 
much faster tempo of development. 

The cardinal principle of this new policy was to abolish all 
distinctions of caste and creed in elementary schools. On the one 
hand, the earlier policy of encouraging separate schools was aban- 
doned. Experience had shown that these schools tended to increase 
segregation and that they were not particularly efficient. It was 
also very difficult to obtain suitable teachers for them. Moreover, 
a large majority of the scheduled caste students was already read- 
ing in mixed schools and the separate schools had come to occupy 
a minor role in the programme. Between 1921 and 1947, there- 
fore, separate schools for the scheduled castes were gradually 
reduced. On the other hand, more vigorous attempts were made 
to assimilate the scheduled caste students with others in the 


common elementary schools. Teachers were forbidden to practise 
untouchability in schools and it was laid dow 7 n that all students of 
the elementary schools, irrespective of caste, should mix together 
freely and share the schools’ programme of curricular and co- 
curricular activities in common. Scheduled caste teachers were 
appointed in increasing numbers in the mixed schools to tone down 
the rigours of untouchability still further. The common elementary 
schools were also encouraged to enrol more and more of scheduled 
caste students and, wherever possible, they were also brought under 
the compulsory education laws. These administrative decisions 
were fundamentally sound ; but they made slow progress, mainly 
because public opinion had not been sufficiently changed to accept 
them. What was needed was a great social movement for the 
abolition of untouchability because it is only against such a back- 
ground that educational reforms of the above type could be 
successful. 

This social and moral leadership was provided by 
Mahatma Gandhi, and his crusade against untouchability is one of 
his greatest contributions to the development of modern India. He 
went on a whirlwind tour of the entire country to preach the aboli- 
tion of untouchability. ‘I would rather see Hinduism die’, he said, 
than untouchability live.’ At this instance, thousands of temples 
were thrown open to the scheduled castes ; they were allowed to 
draw water from common wells; public facilities like restaurants 
were thrown open to them on terms of equality ; and the Hindu 
community as a whole was made to strive hard to abolish the evil. 
These efforts were further strengthened by the work done by great 
leaders of the scheduled castes themselves among whom mention 
may be made of the late Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. After assumption 
of office by the Congress under the provincial autonomy, several 
states passed laws making the observance of untouchability an 
offence. When the Constitution was adopted in 1950, this principle 
was generalised and Article 17 of the Constitution declared that 
‘untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is for- 
bidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of untouch- 
ability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.’ All 
this legislation and the continuous activity of national leaders to 
educate public opinion has had tremendous effect and untouch- 



l8o ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

ability may now be said to have almost disappeared, except to a 
certain extent in some rural areas. Needless to say, it was this 
direct campaign for the liquidation of untouchability that created 
the necessary social background for the proper development of the 
education of the scheduled castes. 

Simultaneously, programmes for expanding their education 
were also taken in hand. Free education was provided for them at 
all stages of education. A large number of scholarships were 
instituted to enable the scheduled caste students to avail themselves 
of middle, secondary and higher education. Hostels were set up in 
all parts of the country and scheduled caste students were provided 
with free board and lodging to enable them to pursue their studies 
at the secondary and higher stages. Grants-in-aid for purchase of 
clothes, books and educational materials were also made available. 
Jobs under the Government were reserved for the educated young 
men and women from the scheduled castes. Since 1945 ’ liberal 
scholarships have been provided for all scheduled caste students to 
study at the university stage. As a result of these measures, the 
education of the scheduled castes progressed immensely between 
1921 and 1961, the tempo of expansion increasing markedly after 
1937 and still further after 1947. The latest available statistics for 
the education of the scheduled castes are for 1960-61 and these have 
been summarised in Table 32. 

The proportion of scheduled caste population varies consi- 
derably from state to state — it is only 5*6 per cent in Maharashtra 
as against 20.9 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, the average for the whole 
of India being 14.7 per cent. In Maharashtra (and this applies to 
Gujarat also), the New Buddha movement has led to large-scale, 
conversions of scheduled castes to Buddhism and consequently, the 
proportion of scheduled castes in the total population has fallen. 

The progress of primary education also varies considerably 
from state to state. For our purpose, however, it would be enough 
to compare the progress of the scheduled castes with that of the 
total population in the state and this has been done in columns 4, 
6 and 8 of Table 32 by comparing the enrolments of the scheduled 
caste children in primary, middle and elementary schools with 
corresponding enrolments for the total population. It will be 
seen therefrom that the advance made by the scheduled castes in 


education of the backward classes 181 


TABLE 32: ENROLMENT OF SCHEDULED CASTES (1960-61) 


State 

Proportion of 


Enrolment of scheduled castes in 



castes to total 

primary 

schools 

middle schools 

Total 


(%) 

Enrol- 

ment 

% 

to 

total 

Enrol- 

ment 

% 

to 

total 

Enrol- 

ment 

% 

to 

total 

Andhra Pradesh 

13.8 

4,28,119 

16.0 

32,325 

9.2 

4,60,444 

15.2 

Bihar 

14.1 

2,66,396 

9.8 

61,423 

7.6 

3,27,819 

9.3 

Gujarat 

5.7 

43,379 

6.1 

1,04,234 

6.8 

1,47,613 

6.6 

Kerala 

8.4 

1,96,212 

10.9 

65,235 

8.5 

2,61,447 

10.2 

Madhya Pradesh 

13.1 

1,57,087 

9.3 

39.446 

8.1 

1,96,533 

9.1 

Madras 

18.0 

4,24,175 

17.0 

1,29,037 

11.6 

5,53,212 

15.3 

Maharashtra 

5.6 

1,78,086 

10.0 

2,48,196 

10.2 

4,26,282 

10.1 

Mysore 

13.2 

1,34,326 

10.5 

73,305 

6.3 

2,07,631 

8.5 

Punjab 

20.4 

1,22,004 

12.3 

29,297 

9.2 

1,51,301 

11.6 

Rajasthan 

16.7 

38,659 

4.4 

11,248 

3.6 

49,907 

4.2 

Uttar Pradesh . . 

20.9 

5,65,822 

14.3 

67,197 

12.2 

6,33,019 

14.0 

West Bengal 

19.9 

4,59,803 

17.4 

27,490 

12.2 

4,87,293 

17.0 


primary education exceeds that of the total population in Andhra 
Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Maharashtra. The gap in the enrol- 
ment of the scheduled castes and the total population is not wide 
in Madras or West Bengal. But it is wide enough to be serious in 
Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and particularly in Rajasthan. It may, 
therefore, be concluded that in some states, such as Gujarat 
or Kerala, the children of scheduled castes attend primary schools 
to the same (or even greater) extent as the total population ; that 
in most of the states, the scheduled castes are behind the total 
population in primary education, but the gap is not very wide ; and 
that in a few areas, such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh or Punjab, 
the gap between the scheduled castes and the total population is 
still disturbingly wide and intensive efforts to bridge it quickly are 
indicated. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 


183 


182 


At the middle school stage, the picture is slightly different. It 
may be mentioned here that, in these statistics, the enrolment in 
middle schools also includes that in the primary departments 
attached to them. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, every middle 
school has primary departments (with generally large enrolments) 
so that the total enrolment in middle schools appears to be even 
larger than that in primary schools. If these two cases are 
excluded, it will be seen that it is only in Kerala that the enrolment 
of the scheduled castes in middle schools is equal to that of the 
total population. In all other areas, the enrolment of scheduled castes 
in middle schools falls sharply and its proportion to total enrolment 
in middle schools is much lower than that of the scheduled caste 
population to total population. The obvious conclusion is that 
poverty prevents several scheduled caste children from continuing 
their education at the middle school stage, although they might 
have been enrolled in primary schools. It may be mentioned in 
passing that this drop becomes greater at the secondary stage and 
still greater at the collegiate stage. 

Taking primary and middle schools together, it may be said 
that the scheduled castes, except in a few areas, are behind the total 
population in availing themselves of the facilities provided for 
elementary education. This handicap becomes more pronounced 
at the middle school stage. One hundred and sixty years ago, un- 
touchability was the main cause for the educational backwardness 
of this group. But today, untouchability plays a very minor role 
and the main cause of the educational backwardness of the 
scheduled castes is poverty. The general measures for the spread 
of elementary education among the poorer classes of society such as 
provision of school meals, free supply of uniforms and textbooks, 
grant of attendance scholarships, etc., will largely cover the needs of 
the scheduled castes also. But special efforts will still be needed, 
especially in areas like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh or Rajasthan. 

II. The Scheduled Tribes 

The Dhebar Commission points out that the largest concen- 
tration of tribal people anywhere in the world, except perhaps in 
Africa, is in India. According to the 1961 census, the total popula- 
tion of the scheduled tribes was 29.88 millions or 6.8 per cent of the 


total population of the country. Most of the tribal people are 
concentrated in 9 states— Madhya Pradesh (6.68 millions) ; Bihar 
(4.204 millions); Orissa (4.219 millions) ; Gujarat (2.75 millions); 
Rajasthan (2.38 millions) ; Assam (2.07 millions) ; Maharashtra 
(2.396 millions) ; West Bengal (2.06 millions) ; and Andhra Pradesh 
(1.32 millions). The number of the tribes is legion; but those 
which number more than .5 million include Gonds (3.2 millions) ; 
Santhals (2.73 millions) ; Bhils (2.33 millions) ; Oraons (1.12 mil- 
lions) ; Khonds (.74 million) ; Mundal (.706 million) ; and Boro 
Kacharis (.594 million).* 

Early Beginnings : The modern system of education in India 
may be said to have begun in 1813. For several years, however, 
very little was done to educate the scheduled tribes, mainly because 
their education presented very difficult problems. Most of the 
tribes lived in remote, inaccessible and forest areas. Their poverty 
was extreme. The villages in which they lived were generally 
small and widely separated from each other. There were no 
educated tribals who could be appointed as teachers and non- 
tribals usually had no knowledge of the tribal dialects and were 
reluctant to live in the difficult terrain occupied by the tribes. The 
immense variety of their dialects, none of which had a script, was 
another formidable obstacle. It is, therefore, no surprise if the 
Education Department did not turn their attention to the education 
of the scheduled tribes for a very long time. 

A beginning in this sector, as in most others, was made by the 
missionaries who lived among the tribal people, studied their 
languages, wrote them down with the help of the Roman script, 
prepared grammars, dictionaries and literature in a number of 
tribal dialects, and carried on an ameliorative and educative 
programme meant for their uplift. When the Indian Education 
Commission examined the problem in 1882, the missionaries were 
the most significant, if not the sole, agency for spreading education 
amongst the scheduled tribes. In Bombay, the total number of 
scheduled tribes children was only 2,738 in all classes in schools. In 
Bengal and Assam, the total enrolment was 13,078 of whom 464 
read in secondary schools, 195 in normal schools and 26 in industrial 
schools. In the Central Provinces, the total enrolment of scheduled 

# The statistics relate to 1951 census. 



184 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 


185 


tribes was 1,055, °f whom only 7 were in schools. In other provinces, 
hardly any beginning had been recorded. The Commission, there- 
fore, came to the conclusion that Government had failed to give 
education to the aboriginal races of India and that special measures 
were required to overcome the difficulties which surround the 
question'.* 

The Indian Education Commission and After: The Indian 

Education Commission examined the problem of the education of 
scheduled tribes in some detail and made several recommenda- 
tions. They suggested that tribal children might be exempted 
from payment of fees and also that additional grants might be given 
to private schools on account of the tribal children attending them. 
In view of the fact that the missionaries were doing very useful 
work for the education of the tribals, the Commission suggested 
that "bodies willing to undertake the work of education among 
aboriginal tribes be liberally assisted on the basis of abstention 
from any interference with religious teaching'. They also re- 
commended that educated tribals should, wherever possible, be 
appointed as teachers in special schools established within or on the 
border of the tribal areas. 

The Commission also gave some attention to the development 
of tribal dialects. They were of the opinion that, in order to reach 
the minds of the tribals, it was necessary to teach them in their 
mother-tongue, and suggested that any tribal dialect which had 
independent vitality should be reduced to writing and utilized as 
the medium of instruction. They felt that a good deal could be 
achieved in this direction through private effort and recommended 
that Government should freely aid and cordially recognize the 
efforts made by missionaries or others to reduce the tribal dialects 
to writing and to compile their grammars and vocabularies. Where 
the dialect could not be reduced to writing or was otherwise un- 
suitable, the Commission suggested the adoption of the language 
of the neighbouring population as the medium of instruction. 
Where the tribals had already adopted an Indian language from 
the neighbouring population, the Commission was of the view that 
instruction should be given in the medium of such Indian language 
and that no attempt should be made to go back on a change which 

* Report, p. 509. 


was obviously beneficial. Where such a change was in process, the 
Commission suggested that the education of a tribal child should 
begin in his spoken dialect and gradually advance to the study of 
the Indian language which was in the course of adoption. 

These recommendations of the Commission formed the basis 
of the policy underlying the subsequent development of tribal 
education in India till 1947. But on account of the difficult 
problems involved, the overall progress was very slow. For instance, 
the following statistics of the education of the scheduled tribes are 
available for 1901-02: 

TABLE 33: STATISTICS OF THE EDUCATION OF SCHEDULED TRIBES 


Province 


No. of 
pupils 

No. of literates 
per thousand 




Males 

Females 

Madras 


4,534 

47 

1 

Bombay 


7,663 

105 

2 

Bengal 


30,203 

89 

4 

Central Provinces 


2,980 

40 

2 

Assam 


16,094 

89 

13 

Berar 

.. 

296 

18 

2 


In respect of these, the Quinquennial Review of the progress of 
education in India, 1897-1902, observes: 

Unsatisfactory as these figures are, they would be far worse but for the 
education given in the mission schools. It is among the aboriginal races that 
the missionaries have found the most fruitful field for their labours, and 
numerous mission societies send their agents to dwell among the homes of 
these wild tribes, where they supply an educational organization, which it 
would not be possible to create in any other manner. Chhota Nagpur, the 
Santhal Parganas, Madras, and the hills of Burma and Assam are the localities 
which have formed the chief theatre of mission labour.* 

The latest statistics available for the pre-independence period are 
those for 1936-37. In that year, Madras had 15,603 tribal children 
reading in all classes of institutions. In Bombay, the number stood 

* Quinquennial Review of the Progress of Education in India (1897-1902), p. 384. 



i86 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 


187 


at 29,105 of whom 1 was in college, 86 in secondary schools, 10 in 
training institutions, 340 in special schools and 28,668 in primary 
schools. Besides, 333 tribal teachers were working in the schools. 
The statistics of Bengal are not available ; but it was reported that 
excellent work was being done by several mission organizations. In 
Bihar, the total enrolment of the tribal children was 82,733 
of whom 14,564 were girls. In the Central Provinces, the total 
enrolment was 25,597 of whom 3 were in arts colleges and 48 in 
high schools. In Assam, the total enrolment in secondary schools 
was 6,827 an d that in primary schools, 34,097. In Orissa, the total 
enrolment was 18,675 of whom 1,614 were girls. Of these, 5 were 
in the collegiate stage, 256 in the secondary stage and 18,140 in the 
primary stage. Compared to the large population of the tribal 
people, these enrolments must be regarded as very disappointing. 
On the eve of the attainment of independence, therefore, it may be 
said that very little had been done to develop education among the 
scheduled tribes. It was only in Assam that good results had been 
obtained, mainly owing to the work of the missionaries. In the rest 
of India only a beginning had been made. 

The Post-Independence Period : It was only after 1947 that 

determined efforts began to be made to ameliorate the social and 
economic conditions of the scheduled tribes, and as a part of this 
broader programme, to develop the education of the tribals. During 
the First Five-Year Plan, the State Governments spent an amount of 
51 millions for the pre-matric education of the tribals, in addition 
to the award of scholarships made by the Government of India to 
all scheduled tribe students reading at the university stage. The 
main achievements of this plan were: (1) the establishment of 

4,000 schools in tribal areas ; (2) the opening of about 650 Sanskar 
Kendras, Balwadis and community centres ; and (3) the grant of 
financial assistance to 450,000 tribal students by way of scholarships, 
grants for books, hostel fees, etc. During the Second Plan, the total 
expenditure on the education of scheduled tribes increased to 
Rs. 72.3 millions (excluding the scholarships provided by the Govern- 
ment of India). The main achievements of this Plan were the 
opening of 3, 1 87 schools, 398 hostels and the award of scholarships 
and other concessions to about 300,000 tribal students. It may also 
be mentioned that in 1948-49 the number of post-matriculation 


scholarships awarded by the Government of India was only 84 (at 
a total cost of Rs 45,986). In 1960-61, their number rose to 6,877 
(at a total cost of Rs. 3,095,814). 

In spite of these efforts and this unprecedented advance, the 
overall situation is still far from satisfactory. The latest available 
statistics for the education of the scheduled tribes are those 
for 1960-61 and these have been briefly summarised below: 

TABLE 34: ENROLMENT OF SCHEDULED TRIBES (1960-61) 


Proportion of Enrolment of scheduled tribes 

scheduled 

tribes to total Primary schools Middle schools Elementary stage 

population — 

Enrol- % Enrol- % Enrol- % 




ment 

to 

total 

ment 

to 

total 

ment 

to 

total 

Andhra Pradesh 

3.7 

61,694 

2.3 

2,383 

0.8 

64,077 

2.1 

Bihar 

9.1 

235,584 

8.7 

60,113 

7.4 

295,697 

8.4 

Gujarat 

13.3 

87,935 

12.4 

114,523 

7.5 

202,458 

9.0 

Kerala 

1.2 

9,839 

0.5 

3,355 

0.4 

13,194 

0.5 

Madhya Pradesh 

20.6 

207,189 

12.3 

31,627 

6.5 

238,816 

11.0 

Madras 

0.7 

12,268 

0.5 

1,353 

0.1 

13,621 

0.4 

Maharashtra 

6.1 

117,524 

6.6 

53,350 

2.2 

170,874 

4.1 

Mysore 

0.8 

9,157 

0.7 

8,173 

0.7 

17,330 

0.7 

Punjab 

0.1 

1,036 

0.1 

417 

0.1 

1,453 

0.1 

Rajasthan 

11.5 

19,901 

2.3 

2,781 

0.9 

22,682 

1.9 

West Bengal 

5.9 

92,657 

3.5 

7,246 

3.2 

99,903 

3.5 

As in the 

case of 

the scheduled 

castes, 

the population of 


scheduled tribes also varies greatly from state to state. It is un- 
fortunate that statistics from Assam and Orissa, which have large 
concentrations of scheduled tribes, are not available. But the 
general trend in the country can still be seen from the statistics of 
the 11 states which have been given in the preceding table. 

At the primary stage, the enrolment of scheduled tribes is 
generally lower than that of the total population. The difference 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


EDUCATION OF THE BACKWARD CLASSES 


igO 

knowledge of tribal life and culture. He must speak the tribal 
language. 

(7) Residential accommodation should be provided to teachers 
working in tribal areas and they should also be given additional 
allowances. 

(8) Tribal boys and girls who pass the middle school should be 
trained as teachers and posted to schools in tribal areas. 

Training centres should be located in tribal areas so that 
non-tribal teachers become familiar with the surroundings in which 
they have to work. 

The Commission laid particular emphasis on the development 
of the tribal languages and on their use as media of instruction at 
the primary stage. It suggested that, in the first two years of the 
school, lessons should be invariably given in the tribal dialects so 
as to make them understandable to the tribal children. Further, 
the Commission suggested that the major tribal languages should 
be utilized as media of instruction and that necessary textbooks 
should be prepared in them. ‘If it has been possible for the NEFA 
Administration’, said the Commission, ‘to produce in five years 
well over a hundred textbooks in thirteen different languages, it 
should certainly be possible to have textbooks in Saora, Kui and 
Kondi. If it is possible for the same Administration to produce 
alphabet charts in Devanagari for several tribal languages, to prepare 
health posters for a dozen different tribes and to produce small 
books of folk tales and folk songs in the local tongues, it should be 
possible for any state to do so. In Assam, the mother-tongue is 
used in education up to quite a high standard and several of the 
main tribal languages are recognized for examination purposes by 
the University of Gauhati which has also recognized the Abor 
language used in NEFA. In Nagaland, while textbooks are lagging 
behind, the local languages are commonly used for instruction. 
The interest in their own tongue is vividly illustrated in the Mizo 
Hills where the Mizos buy several hundred rupees worth of books 
in their language every day of the year. Difficulties are admittedly 
great, but they can be overcome by sincere effort and imagination. 
There seems to be little understanding of what his own language 
means to a tribal. It is to him a vital element in his culture. He 


19 1 

feels at home in it and there is little doubt that by encouraging it 
we definitely assist the process of integration. Every tribal school 
also teaches the national and regional language from a certain 
standard onwards. Knowledge of these greater languages and even 
of English is of course essential. Simultaneously, the greater tribal 
languages should not be forgotten.’ 

These are very important recommendations and if action 
is taken on these lines, there is no doubt that the education of the 
tribal people will advance more rapidly. 

Compulsory Education : The question of compulsory primary 
education for the tribal children is very often discussed. Some 
social workers are very enthusiastic in this regard and suggest that 
compulsory primary education should be immediately introduced 
in tribal areas. This view, however, is not shared, either by the 
Dhebar Commission or by the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes 
and Scheduled Tribes. In the opinion of the Commissioner, the 
time is not yet ripe for the introduction of compulsory primary 
education in tribal areas and he feels that any hasty steps in imple- 
menting such legislation would do more harm than good. He has, 
therefore, suggested that, during the Third Five-Year Plan, em- 
phasis should be laid on persuasion and propaganda and on 
creating the necessary background for the enforcement of com- 
pulsory primary education. He suggests the following measures 
for adoption: 

(1) A proper survey should be undertaken to find out the 
places where schools should be located and steps should 
be taken to prepare an adequate number of teachers to 
work among the tribal people. 

(2) Educational facilities should be adequately provided in 
all areas. 

(3) Schools with hostels may be established for those 
children of the scheduled tribes who live in inaccessible 
areas. 

(4) School hours and vacations should be adjusted according 
to the needs of the agricultural sessions in the locality. 

(5) School meals, free clothing and free books should be 
provided to encourage children to attend schools. 



192 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


Education of the backward classes 


(6) An annual census of children of school-going age should 

be held in each school area and teachers should be en- 
couraged to develop contacts with the parents and to 
educate them on their responsibility towards their 
children. 

(7) Intensive propaganda in favour of compulsory primary 
education may be carried out and public opinion 
prepared for it. 

When intensive work on these lines has been done for some 
years and the ground is adequately prepared, compulsory primary 
education may be introduced. Even then, the penal clauses of the 
law should not be over-emphasized because the levy of fines is likely 
to discourage parents and create a distaste for compulsory educa- 
tion. Moreover, it would be an advantage not to entrust the police 
officers with the enforcement of compulsory law and these powers 
may preferably be vested in the officers of the Education Depart- 
ment. 

These suggestions of the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes 
and Scheduled Tribes have been accepted by the Government of 
India and the State Governments and it is on these lines that 
elementary education among the tribal people is being developed 
at present. 

Ill, Denotified Tribes 

This group of people include a few tribes which, prior to 1950, 
were known as ‘Criminal Tribes' because their hereditary occupa- 
tion was thieving, in particular cattle-lifting and house-breaking. 
For obvious reasons, most of these tribes are nomadic. 

Efforts at the education of these people began rather late. In 
this sector also, the lead was taken by the missions, particularly by 
the Salvation Army. Government began to show interest in the 
early decades of this century. A Criminal Tribes Act was passed 
in 1950, and Government was empowered to settle any ‘noti- 
fied' criminal tribe in a definite locality where attempts could 
be made to convert the settlers and the children into good citizens. 
Gradually settlements were established in most of the British Indian 
Provinces and compulsory education was provided for all children 


i93 

in the settlements. In addition, boarding schools were established, 
wherever possible, for the children of these tribes. Grants were 
also made available to the missionaries or similar agencies which 
undertook the work of providing education for their children. 

The most important policy decision taken in the post-indepen- 
dence period was to ‘denotify’ these tribes and to repeal the 
Criminal Tribes Act. It was felt that it would not be proper to 
call any group of persons as ‘criminal' merely on the basis of birth. 
The ameliorative measures for the improvement of these tribes 
have, however, been continued and greatly intensified. The major 
programmes adopted at present include the training of adults in 
useful vocations and provision of education for the children, mainly 
through boarding schools. 

IV. Nomadic Tribes 

There are a few nomadic tribes in India. Their main problem, 
as in any other country, is that they have no permanent home and 
that they roam about in the country in search of livelihood. 
Their children have to move with the parents and cannot, there- 
fore, attend schools. There are only two ways in which education 
can be provided to these children: (1) by establishing residential 

schools ; or (2) by providing mobile schools which will move with 
the tribes. 

Very little had been done for these people during the pre- 
independence period. But now some attention is being paid to 
solve their problems. Efforts are directed mainly to their settlement 
in fixed localities as this basic approach would solve all problems 
of education. However, the process is difficult and slow, and 
hence mobile schools are being established, as a transitional 
measure. Wherever possible, an enthusiastic teacher, preferably 
belonging to the tribes themselves, is selected and is required to 
move with the tribe and to provide education to the children. The 
progress, however, is rather slow. 

In Jammu 8c Kashmir, the problem of nomadic tribes is of an 
appreciable size. Owing to climatic conditions, several tribes move 
up the mountains during summer and come down the valleys in 
winter. The only way to educate the children of these tribes is to 
provide mobile schools. At present the State Government conducts 



194 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


53 mobile schools. The teacher is usually a person belonging to 
the tribe itself. 

V. General 

It will be seen from the foregoing discussion that, among all 
the backward classes in the society, numerically the most important 
are the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In so far as 
the scheduled castes are concerned, however, the special problem of 
their education and social amelioration is much nearer solution. 
But the leeway to be made in the education of the scheduled tribes 
is still very great. In respect of the denotified and nomadic tribes, 
not much has been done so far ; but the problem is numerically 
very small. 

Universal elementary education implies the provision of 
equality of educational opportunity for all. In order to reach this 
goal, the problems of educating the backward classes, some of which 
have been outlined above, will have to be faced squarely for the 
next 10-15 ye^s. 


CHAPTER n 

Other Special Problems of Expansion 

I. Part-time Education 

It is universally recognized that poverty is the most im- 
portant single factor which reduces equality of opportunity at 
every stage of education, including the elementary. At pre- 
sent, children from rich or middle class families are almost 
fully enrolled in elementary schools. A large number of children 
from the poor classes have also been enrolled and it is only 
children from the very poor families of landless labourers or 
other economically handicapped groups that are mostly out of 
schools. It may be pointed out, however, that such non-enrolment 
is not the only result of poverty. Several poor children are 
enrolled in schools at the age of 6 or 7 when they are not 
able to work in or for their families. As soon as they become 
older, say, 9 or 10 years of age, they begin working at home 
or outside and are withdrawn from school. This leads to 
wastage, and it was pointed out in Chapter 9 that about 
65 per cent of the wastage at the elementary stage is due mainly 
to poverty. 

The Misrod Study : These general conclusions are borne out 
in an interesting recent study on ‘the problems of elementary 
education in the area served by the Government Middle School, 
Misrod, District Sehore, Madhya Pradesh', conducted by the 
National Institute of Basic Education in July 1 962 . This study 
covered about 11 villages /habitations in all and included a total 
population of 391 boys and 314 girls in the age-group 6-14. It was 
found that only 59.8 per cent of the boys and 4.8 per cent of 
the girls in this age-group were enrolled in schools. The non- 
enrolment of girls is very large and the reason for it is obviously 
social rather than economic. But in so far as boys are concerned, 
it was found that their enrolment was directly proportional to 
the economic condition of the family. This will be seen from 
Table 35. 



196 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


TABLE 35: BOYS IN THE AGE-GROUP 6-14 ATTENDING SCHOOLS 
CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO ECONOMIC CONDITION 


Per capita 
annual income 
in family 

Age- 

group 

popu- 

lation 

6-11 attend- 
ing 
school 

No. % 

Age- 

group 

popu- 

lation 

11-14 attend- 
ing 
school 

No. % 

Age- 

group 

popu- 

lation 

6-14 

attending 

school 

No. % 

1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 

9 

10 

Rs. 

0— 150 

157 

92 

58.6 

61 

25 

41.0 

218 

117 

53.7 

151 — 300 

80 

54 

67.5 

46 

26 

56.5 

126 

80 

63.5 

301 — 450 

22 

16 

72.7 

11 

9 

81.8 

33 

25 

76.6 

451 — 600 

6 

4 

66.7 

3 

3 

100.0 

9 

7 

77.8 

601 ■ — and above 

5 

5 

100.0 

0 

0 


5 

5 

100.0 

All groups 

270 

171 

63.3 

121 

63 

52.1 

391 

234 

59.8 


It will be seen that the enrolment (53.7 per cent) is the least 
in the lowest income group (less than Rs. 150 per head per year), 


that it increases continuously as the income per head increases and 
that in the income group of Rs. 601 or more per head per year, the 
enrolment is 100 per cent. 

The following statistics show the relationship between enrol- 
ment of boys and their age : 

TABLE 36: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ENROLMENT AND AGE 

Age 

Total no. of 
boys 

enumerated 
in the study 

No. attending 
schools 

Percentage of 
enrolment 

6—7 

72 

36 

50.0 

7 — 8 

59 

36 

61.0 

8 — 9 

51 

36 

70.6 

9—10 

40 

30 

75.0 

10— 11 

48 

33 

68.7 

11 — 12 

33 

21 

63.7 

12 — 13 

46 

27 

58.7 

13— 14 

42 

15 

35.7 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 


1 97 


It will be found that the enrolment is at its best in the age- 
groups 7-8, 8-9 and 9-10, where it rises continuously from 61.0 per 
cent in the age-group 7-8 to 75 per cent in the age-group 9-10. Then 
it begins to drop rather sharply and reaches 35.7 per cent in the 
age-group 13-14. These figures are slightly different from the all- 
India pattern of enrolment which is given below: 


TABLE 37: ENROLMENT OF CHILDREN IN THE AGE-GROUP 6-14 


Age 


1951 



1961 



Total no. of 
children in 
the 

age-group 

(census) 

No. of 
children in 
the 

age-group 

(enrolled) 

Percen- 
tage of 
3 to 2 

Total no. of 
children in 
the 

age-group 

(estimated) 

No. of ^ 
children in 
the 

age-group 

(enrolled) 

Percen- 
tage of 
6 to 5 

1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

6—7 

93,10,800 

32,09,554 

34.47 

1,08,36,062 

51,30,118 

47.34 

7—8 

91,00,200 

33,72,332 

37.06 

1,05,95,972 

57,75,987 

54.51 

8—9 

88,92,200 

32,31,117 

36.34 

1,03,47,879 

52,96,689 

51.19 

9—10 

86,86,600 

28,19,517 

42.46 

1,01,15,792 

46,61,211 

46.08 

10—11 

84,83,100 

24,09,667 

28.41 

98,75,702 

39,03,505 

39.53 

11—12 

82,84,500 

19,26,635 

23.26 

96,43,615 

30,69,573 

31.83 

12—13 

80,88,600 

14,82,705 

18.33 

94,19,531 

24,14,655 

25.64 

13—14 

78,96,200 

11,11,766 

14.08 

91,95,447 

18,38,256 

20.00 

Total 

6,87,42,200 

1,95,63,293 

28.46 

8,00,30,000 

3,20,89,994 

40.10 


It may be concluded, therefore, that the enrolment of children 
is at its best in the age -group 7-9 and that it begins to fall off from 
the age-group 9-10. It reaches the lowest level in the age-group 
n-14, due obviously to economic reasons. 

In the Misrod study, an attempt was made to find out what 
the non-attending children are actually doing with a view to ascer- 
taining the methods which can bring them into schools. The 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 


199 


198 

following two tables, which give the data separately for the age- 
groups 6-11 and 11-14, be found interesting from this point of 
view: 


TABLE 38: MANNER IN WHICH NON-ATTENDING BOYS AND GIRLS 
IN THE AGE-GROUP 6-11 SPENT THEIR TIME 


S.No. 

Major activity 


Boys 


Girls 

Boys and Girls 



No. 

% 

No. 

% 

No. 

% 

1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 

1 . 

doing nothing (except some 
casual work of a minor 
nature) 

59 

59.6 

111 

50.9 

170 

53.6 

2. 

domestic work and/or 
employment within family 

20 

20.2 

103 

47.2 

123 

38.8 

3. 

studying at home 

11 

11.1 

3 

1.4 

14 

4.4 

4. 

employment outside family 

8 

8.1 

1 

0.5 

9 

2.8 

5. 

confined to bed on account 
of bad health . . 

1 

1.0 

0 

0.0 

1 

.3 

All activities (Total) 

99 

100.0 

218 

100.0 

317 

100.0 


TABLE 39: MANNER IN WHICH NON- ATTENDING BOYS AND 
GIRLS IN THE AGE-GROUP 11-14 SPENT THEIR TIME 


S.No. Major activity 


Boys 

Girls 


Boys and Girls 



No. % 

No. 

% 

No. 

% 

1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 

1 . 

doing nothing 

6 

10.3 

13 

16.0 

19 

13.7 

2. 

domestic work and/or 

employment within family 

23 

39.7 

66 

81.5 

89 

64.0 

3. 

studying at home 

5 

8.6 

2 

2.5 

7 

5.0 

4. 

employment outside family 

24 

41.4 

0 

0.0 

24 

17.3 

All 

activities (Total) 

58 

100.0 

81 

100.0 

139 

100.0 


It will be seen from Table 38 that as many as 53.6 per cent 
of the non-attending children (59.6 per cent boys and 50.9 per cent 
girls) in the age-group 6-11 were doing nothing except some casual 
work of a minor nature and that about 38.8 per cent of them 
(20.2 per cent boys and 47.2 per cent of girls) were doing some 
domestic work or employment within the family. It may, there- 
fore, be concluded that the vast majority of the non-attending 
children in the age-group 6-11 do not attend schools mainly because 
of the indifference of parents and that poverty, which compels the 
children to work at home, is only the second contributory cause of 
absenteeism at this stage. The girls are more useful at home and 
hence a very large proportion of them is engaged in domestic work. 

The data in Table 39, however, are entirely different. They 
show that, in the age-group 11-14, as many as 64 per cent of the 
children (39.7 per cent boys and 81.5 per cent girls) are doing some 
domestic work within the family. In view of their age, the work 
that they are doing in the family is also generally significant and of 
a type from which it would be very difficult for the parents to spare 
them. Another 17.3 per cent of the children (41.4 per cent boys, 
0.0 per cent girls) are employed outside the family and earning 
some money. In this age-group, therefore, the factor of poverty is 
of great importance and is the main contributory cause for 
absenteeism. 

The Need for Part-time Education : The findings of this 
investigation have been quoted in detail in spite of its small sample 
because it is the most recent study available and also because they 
are broadly similar to other studies in this field. It may, therefore, 
be assumed that poverty is the main cause for the non-enrolment or 
withdrawal of children from schools in the age-group 11-14 an( ^ 
that it also makes a significant contribution to absenteeism in the 
age-group 6-n although, at this stage, the indifference of parents 
is the primary factor leading to absenteeism. 

The economic problems can be met, partly through provision 
of amenities, but mainly through the provision of facilities for part- 
time education. In the age-group 6-11, absenteeism due to poverty 
can be controlled by provision of school meals, free uniforms and 
free supply of textbooks. In deserving cases, even attendance 
scholarships might be instituted. But by and large, the provision of 



200 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 


201 


part-time instruction may not be necessary at this stage, except in 
very hard cases in the age-group 9-11. On the other hand, in the 
age-group 11-14, absenteeism is mainly due to the fact that 
the children are either working at home or outside and are making 
an appreciable contribution, direct or indirect, to the family budget. 
Even the provision of amenities, as suggested above will not, there- 
fore, be enough to meet the situation and the only way out would 
be, either to compensate the family for the loss of the earnings of 
the child (which would be financially impracticable), or to institute 
a system of part-time education under which the child can both 
work and learn. 

It may also be stated that experience from other countries 
supports the need to provide part-time education at this stage, as a 
transitional measure, in the initial stages of the development 
of universal education. In England, for example, the first compul- 
sory education law was passed as early as in 1870. But facilities for 
part-time education had to be provided, on economic grounds, for 
a fair number of children and were abolished only in 1918 when 
the general economic condition of the country improved. In any 
given society, a child, especially of poor parents, generally passes 
through three phases. The first phase is one of whole-time school- 
ing and its duration depends upon the economic condition of 
society. This is followed by the second phase which is of part-time 
work and part-time schooling. This is finally followed by the third 
phase where the child, which has now become an adult, takes up 
full-time work. The present situation in India, for the vast 
majority of the poor children, is that the children can attend 
schools, on a full-time basis, in the age-group 6-n only. They will 
have to attend schools on a part-time basis and also work part-time 
(in the home or in the family) in the age-group 11-14; and they 
can take up full-time work only after the age of 14. The provision 
of part-time education, especially in the age-group 11-14 becomes, 
therefore, absolutely essential during the next 10-15 years, if the 
children (especially girls) from the poorer families are to receive 
education. 

Organization : The organization of part-time education (which 
may also be described as "continuation education* or classes because 
it is a "continuation* of the education at the primary stage) at the 


middle school stage (classes VI-VIII) or broadly for the age-group 
11-14 presents comparatively fewer problems. 

The first step in the organization of such classes is to launch 
an intensive effort to reduce wastage, especially in classes VI-VIII. 
In every middle school, a register should be annually prepared of 
all children who have completed class V and who ought to have, 
but did not, join class VI for some reason or the other. An attempt 
should be made, by contacting the children themselves and their 
parents, to find out why these children are being withdrawn from 
schools. If it is discovered, as in most cases it would be, that they 
are being withdrawn because they cannot attend schools on a 
whole-time basis, they should be requested to continue their studies 
on a part-time basis and every effort should be made to provide a 
system of part-time education for them. The time which is suit- 
able for attendance will have to be determined separately for each 
child and this will depend upon the nature of work the child is 
required to do. But by and large, it will generally be found that 
these children are free and can attend schools, for about two hours 
a day, either in the morning or in the afternoon or at night. The 
classes for part-time education should be arranged so as to make it 
possible for the largest number of children to take advantage of 
them. The preparation of such registers of children who are being 
withdrawn from schools in the age-group 11-14, the contacting of 
their parents and the making of necessary preliminary local studies 
to design the suitable times for continuation classes, should be the 
responsibility of the head teacher of every middle school who should 
be assisted, in this task, by all the assistant teachers. 

The problem of buildings and equipment will not generally 
arise. The buildings and equipment of the existing primary and 
middle schools can be used, almost always, for the continuation 
classes, if there is no conflict between their timings and those of the 
day schools. Where such a conflict arises, and it may arise in a few 
cases, an alternative building will have to be found for the conti- 
nuation classes. It would not ordinarily be difficult to do so 
and a temple or a chaupal would always be available for the 
purpose in rural areas. In urban areas, it may be necessary to hire 
a building ; but such cases would be very few. When a separate 
building has to be found for the continuation classes, some special 



202 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 


arrangements to provide the necessary equipment will also have to 
be made. 

The recruitment of teachers would also not be difficult. In 
most cases, the teachers working in the day primary or middle 
schools would be able to conduct the continuation classes in addition 
to their duties and in return for a payment. It may be necessary 
to get an independent teacher for the continuation classes when 
there is a conflict in timings or when the teacher of the day school 
is not prepared to shoulder this additional responsibility. Such 
cases, however, would be very few and, if a reasonable remuneration 
is provided for this work, it may not at all be difficult to get teachers 
for the continuation classes. 

The curriculum of the continuation classes will have to be 
planned with great care. It will have to follow the broad outline 
of the curriculum for classes VI -VI 1 1 for the day middle schools. 
But as the total time available would be limited, certain adjust- 
ments will have to be made. The time allotted for extra- 
curricular activities in the day schools will have to be very largely 
cut out. Similarly, emphasis will have to be laid on the core curri- 
culum, i.e. on language, arithmetic and general information. Some 
pre-vocational instruction suited to the future needs of the child 
will also have to be introduced. 

It would be desirable to keep the size of the classes in part- 
time education as small as practicable. As the total available time 
is limited, the teacher will have to give considerable individual 
attention to each pupil. This is possible only if the overall size of 
the class is restricted, say, to not more than 25 children in daily 
attendance or 30 on rolls. 

The continuation classes should not charge any tuition fees 
and provision will also have to be made to supply books and 
writing materials free of charge. Whenever the classes are held at 
night, arrangements will also have to be made for lighting. 

It would not be necessary to hold any public examinations at 
the end of the course of the part-time education. A majority of 
children attending these classes will pass out into various walks 
of life and they would be all the better for the contact they have been 
able to maintain with the schools in this crucial period of their life. 
A minority will try to appear at the examination at the end of 


class VIII as they will ordinarily take longer time to reach this stage 
— about 4 to 5 years — and if they desire to do so, they should be 
asked to appear at the same examination as is held for the 
day scholars. Some of them may be good enough to win scholar- 
ships or prizes and even to proceed to secondary education, on a 
whole-time or part-time basis. 

# It is necessary to provide a short orientation to teachers 
in charge of continuation classes. The average primary teacher 
is generally included to develop his school programme in a very 
leisurely fashion. Working in a continuation class is different and 
needs a sense of pace. A short orientation course of about 3 weeks 
is generally adequate to orient trained or experienced primary 
teachers to the special demands of continuation classes and the 
special techniques to be employed in conducting them. The 
details of such a course would have to be worked out and it will 
have to be put across to the teacher educators in the first instance. 

It will also not be necessary to create any special machinery 
for the inspection of continuation classes. The existing machinery 
for the inspection of day primary or middle schools can also take 
on this additional work. If the number of continuation classes 
increases very largely, this machinery may have to be suitably 
strengthened, yf 

Finances : The cost of continuation education will be fairly 
high but not as high as that of full-time education. In the rural 
areas, for instance, the additional remuneration that may have to 
be paid to the teacher can be assumed at Rs. 25 per month. The 
contingent expenditure, including lighting expenses, free supply of 
books and writing materials, etc. may not exceed Rs. 15 per month 
on an average. The total expenditure on the continuation classes 
would thus be about Rs. 40 per month or Rs. 500 per year in round 
figures. Assuming an average attendance of 20, the cost per pupil 
per annum would be Rs. 25. This is much lower than the cost per 
child per annum in a full-time day middle school. 

Programme in the Third Five-Year Plan : Very little work on 
continuation classes has been done in the country so far ; and the 
idea received a fairly large-scale notice for the first time when the 
Third Five-Year Plan was being prepared. The problem was high- 
lighted by the National Committee on Women’s Education which 



2 04 


elementary education in india 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 


realized the value of part-time education, especially for girls who 
lose all advantages of education at the middle school stage because 
they are required to work at home. The following extracts from 
the report of the Committee are relevant in this context: 

Part-time Education : At the present time, we provide either full-time edu- 

cation or no education at all. In the economic conditions as they exist today, 
girls will have to work either in or for the family and, therefore, the provision 
of part-time education is indispensable. . . In our country, a provision of 
adequate part-time education alone can bring the children of thousands of 
poor parents to schools, especially in rural areas. Such part-time instruction 
should be provided at such time as may be convenient for girls in the locality 
and, if necessary, even night schools may be organized. The duration of the 
instruction may be even one hour per day. It has to be remembered that for 
thousands and thousands of girls, it will be either this education or none at 
all. We therefore, recommend that the largest possible provision of part-time 
instruction, suited to the needs of each locality, be made in all parts of the 
country for all children of poor parents and especially for girls. 

Night schools : We have also come across a number of parents who are 
willing to send their daughters to schools in the evening time when they can 
be spared. During the day, parents go to work or the girls have to look after 
the homes where they have to help their parents in their work. In such cases 
a good number of night schools should be encouraged in rural areas for the 
benefit of girls who cannot be expected to attend day schools. These schools 
when established may be open to boys also. The day school building could 
be utilized for the purpose, but with a different set of teachers. 

This recommendation has been taken up by some state 
governments. Besides, the general need for developing a pro- 
gramme of part-time education, for boys as well as for girls, 
in schools of general education and vocational training was empha- 
sized in the Third Five-Year Plan which pointed out that it should 
be possible to organize part-time courses, ‘to an increasing extent, 
in middle schools, basic schools, junior technical schools and other 
centres . On the whole, however, the scale on which this experi- 
ment is being tried is very restricted. This will be seen from the 
following brief notes on programmes included in the State Plans: 

Uttar Pradesh : There is a scheme of opening of 300 continuation classes in 
selected junior basic schools for girls in the rural areas. The girl students 
will be coached to appear privately in the junior high school examination 
(class VIII). Two teachers will be provided for each continuation class and 
there is also a provision for scholarships as a measure of incentive to compara- 
tively grown up girls with a view to increasing the number of prospective 
teachers. 

Rajasthan : The Plan includes a scheme of continuation or part-time 


205 

education at the elementary stage. The intention is to provide 150 continua- 
tion classes during the Third Plan period. 

Maharashtra : There is a provision in the State Grant-in-aid Code for night 

high schools which include the middle school stage, namely, standards V-VII. 
These standards can be attached also to elementary schools, there being 
no difference in the syllabus to be pursued at this stage. Facilities already 
exist in big cities like Bombay and Poona for continuation education in the 
form of night schools for those who are prevented by the daily avocations 
from attending the regular day elementary schools. There are about 30 such 
schools with an enrolment of about 1,600. These schools are run by private 
agencies and they are recognized and aided by the local education authorities 
according to the existing rules. This facility is extended to rural areas also 
if there is a demand for it. Apart from these night schools, the Siva Sadan 
Society, Poona — a society known for its pioneering effort for the cause of 
women’s education — runs continuation classes in the form of a day school for 
adult women. This is recognized and aided. 

Orissa : Adult women are given continuation education up to the middle 

school standard. The candidates undergoing condensed course appear at the 
common examination at the end of the middle school course along with other 
candidates and those who come out successful in the examination are eligible 
for appointment as primary school teachers, Gram Sevikas, midwives and are 
required to undergo professional training. The duration of the course is one 
year only. The courses of study for the adult women undergoing condensed 
course have been approved and recognized as equivalent to middle school 
standard without English by the State Government. 

Mysore : The continuation classes are proposed to be organized as an experi- 
mental measure in each district in both urban and rural areas on part-time 
basis. These classes will be attached to middle or secondary schools with three 
years duration for each course. The minimum age for admission to middle 
school classes will be 12 and above and high school classes 15 and above. The 
students in both stages will take the same subjects, have the same syllabus and 
the same textbooks as in general schools. The rules of promotion will be 
the same as for general classes. Students who complete the course shall be 
eligible to take the common seventh standard primary school examination or 
tenth standard public examination along with other school candidates. Twenty 
middle and twenty high school continuation classes at the rate of one per 
district are proposed to be organized. 

General Conclusions : It will be seen from the above that the 
need for developing a large-scale programme of part-time education 
has not yet been keenly felt in most areas of the country. This is 
mainly because we have not yet turned our attention seriously to 
the problem of reducing wastage which is particularly heavy at the 
middle stage. But this problem will have to be faced squarely in 
the Fourth and Fifth Five-Year Plans. According to the present 
calculations, not more than 50 per cent of the children in the age- 
group 11-14 could be enrolled in classes VI-VIII on a whole-time 



206 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION ZOj 


basis, even by 1975. The only way in which we can introduce 
universal education in this age-group by 1975 or 1981 is to develop 
a large-scale programme for part-time or continuation education 
for the age-group 11-14. In the present economic conditions, this 
facility will have to be provided for about 25 to 30 per cent of the 
children in the age-group. 

It is, therefore, highly essential that this programme is tried 
out, on an experimental basis, by every state government without 
any delay. In the next two or three years, each State Education 
Department will thus gather a good deal of experience of its own 
in organizing this programme and would, therefore, be able to 
develop it, on a large scale, in the Fourth and the Fifth Five-Year 
Plans. 

II. Education of Handicapped Children 

Article 45 of the Constitution directs that free and compulsory 
education should be provided for all children until they complete 
the age of 14 years. It may be pointed out that this directive 
applies to all children, including those who are physically or 
mentally handicapped. Unfortunately, no steps have been taken so 
far to extend the provisions of compulsory education to handicapped 
children. The existing compulsory education laws declare that a 
physical or a mental handicap may be regarded as ‘a reasonable 
excuse’ for non-attendance and provide for the exemption of handi- 
capped children from compulsory attendance at schools. This is 
obviously a negative decision which seeks to avoid difficulties that 
would be created if handicapped children begin to attend schools, 
and it cannot be regarded as a solution of the problem. We have, 
therefore, to devise a positive programme under which the facilities 
now available for the education of handicapped children would 
be increased gradually till a stage is reached when every handi- 
capped child will be receiving instruction in an appropriate 
institution, either on a voluntary or on a compulsory basis. It is 
the difficult problems involved in this programme that would be 
briefly discussed in the paragraphs that follow. 

Size of the Problem : The basic data which are necessary in 

planning a programme of universal education for handicapped 
children are an estimate of the number of such children classified 


according to the different categories of the handicap involved, e.g. 
blind, deaf, orthopaedically handicapped and mentally deficient. 
Unfortunately, these data are not available because no systematic 
enumeration of handicapped children has yet been made. 

During the Second Five-Year Plan, the Government of India 
undertook a few sample surveys of the physically handicapped 
children in Delhi, Bombay and Kanpur. The results of these 
surveys have certain limitations, but they provide a valuable indi- 
cation of the magnitude of the problem. The Delhi survey 
revealed that one family out of every four had a physically handi- 
capped person — child or adult. The results of the Bombay and 
Kanpur surveys were also broadly similar. On the basis of these 
surveys and such other data as are available, the Ministry of Educa- 
tion has made some tentative estimates of the number of physically 
handicapped children in India. According to them, the total 
number of blind and orthopaedically handicapped children in the 
country is about 450,000 each and that of deaf children is about 
225,000. Thus India may have about 1,125,000 blind, deaf and crip- 
pled children who ought to receive elementary education. It has not 
yet been possible to carry out even a sample survey for the 
enumeration of mentally handicapped children in India. But on 
the basis of surveys carried out in England and America (which 
suggest that two to three out of every thousand children of school- 
going age are mentally handicapped), India would have about 
200,000 mentally deficient children in the age-group 6-14. At the 
present estimate of the population, therefore, a total provision for 
the education of about 1.3 million handicapped children would 
have to be made in the country as a whole, if the directive 
of Article 45 of the Constitution is to be extended to handicapped 
children also. 

Historical Development : What progress has been made in the 
country so far to meet this gigantic task? An analysis of the 
historical development of the education of handicapped children 
in India and its present position shows that we have only touched 
a fringe of the problem so far. 

Although the system of modern education began to be orga- 
nized in India from 1813, it was not till the last two decades of 
the nineteenth century that the problem of the education of 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 


309 


308 

handicapped children began to receive attention. The first school 
for the deaf was established in 1885 an< ^ this was followed by the 
establishment of similar schools at Palayamcottai and Calcutta. The 
first school for the blind was established at Amritsar in 1887. It 
was moved later to Raj pur, Dehra Dun, where it continues to 
exist to this date. Other schools for the blind were soon established 
at Palayamcottai, Calcutta and Bombay. But progress was very slow, 
partly because the attention of the public had not been adequately 
drawn to the problem and partly because of the lack of teachers and 
funds. By 1947, there were only about 50 schools for the blind and 
only about 35 schools for the deaf in the country as a whole. There 
were no schools for orthopaedically handicapped children, and 
only one school for the mentally deficient children had been 
established in Bombay in 1944 by the Society for Children in Need 
of Special Care. 

A brief survey of the existing position with regard to the 
number of schools and their enrolment, the training of teachers and 
manufacture of special equipment needed for the schools for 
handicapped children is given below. 

The Blind: At present, there are nearly a hundred special 

education establishments for the blind with a total enrolment of 
about 4,500. The majority of them are administered by voluntary 
agencies. Only about a dozen are administered by the various 
State Governments. 

Most schools for the blind impart elementary education coupled 
with training in crafts like chair-caning, weaving, string bag making, 
basket making, toy making etc. Music is taught in almost every 
school. 

The Government of India have established a Model School for 
Blind Children at Dehra Dun which imparts education up to the 
seventh class. This school is being developed into a secondary 
school and is a constituent unit of the National Centre for the Blind 
which is being developed to provide an integrated service for the 
blind. 

In recent years, it is being gradually appreciated that train- 
ing in cottage industries does not prepare blind children for 
remunerative work. Consequently, the modern trend is to reshape 
; the existing training programmes of schools for the blind and to 


lay greater emphasis on engineering occupations so that, on leaving 
school, blind children could take up work in ordinary industrial 
establishments. 

The Deaf: The number of schools for the deaf is about 

53 with a total enrolment of about 3,500. Although the average 
deaf child is expected to spend 8 to 10 years at school, only in a 
very few schools is he able to complete elementary education. In 
many schools, however, he is able to achieve a very limited use of 
his mother-tongue and some skill in lip reading. In fact, in most 
schools for the deaf, the bulk of the time is devoted to training in 
speech and lip reading. The situation is somewhat improving 
with the increasing use of hearing aids which make the process of 
direct imitation of speech possible. 

These schools also give education with a practical bias. Train- 
ing is imparted in crafts like carpentry, weaving, smithy, knitting, 
hosiery etc. Here again, the latest trend is to shift the emphasis 
from cottage industries to engineering occupations which offer a 
wider scope for employment. 

The Orthopaedically Handicapped: The main object of 

special institutions for this category of children is to provide 
facilities for physical restoration of affected limbs through physio- 
therapy and occupational therapy. Elementary education is im- 
parted side by side with therapeutic exercises. The total enrolment 
in the existing 18 institutions is a little over one thousand. 

The Mentally Deficient: The main difference in schools 

for physically handicapped and mentally deficient children is that 
whereas in schools for the former category the main aim is to 
prepare the child for remunerative work, the primary object in 
schools for mentally deficient children is to make the child as inde- 
pendent as possible in self-care. Every child is educated according 
to his aptitudes and capacity. Apart from training in the activities 
of daily living, an attempt is made to achieve muscular coordination 
through rhythmic movements, music, elementary drawing and 
painting and similar other activities. Education is made as 
objective and concrete as possible. 

Teacher Training: Teachers of the blind, the deaf and the 

mentally deficient have usually to be specially trained. The 
National Academy of Teachers of the Blind, which is a voluntary 



2 lO 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


organization, conducts a one-year training course for teachers of the 
blind at Palayamcottai, Madras. The Government of Maharashtra 
have also started a one-year course for the training of teachers of the 
blind in Bombay. 

In collaboration with the American Foundation for Overseas 
Blind and the UNICEF, the Government of India have prepared a 
scheme for the training of teachers of the blind on a regional basis. 
The object of this scheme is to ensure uniformity in the curriculum, 
the system of examination etc., in the training of teachers of the 
blind throughout the country. The first course under this scheme 
has already commenced in Bombay in July, 1963. 

There are at present six centres for the training of teachers of 
the deaf, one each at Bombay, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Calcutta, 
Hyderabad and Delhi. The Government of India have drawn up 
a common syllabus which all the teacher training institutions will 
be asked to adopt. 

The Society for Children in Need of Special Care, Bombay, 
has been providing a one-year training course for teachers of 
mentally handicapped children for several years. A school for 
training teachers of mentally deficient children has also been started 
in Chandigarh recently. 

Special Equipment : Braille books and appliances needed for 
the education of blind children are produced in this country by the 
Central Braille Press and the Workshop for the Manufacture of 
Braille Appliances administered by the Union Ministry of Educa- 
tion at Dehra Dun. Braille books are sold at one-third of the cost 
of the materials used in their production. Braille appliances are 
sold at a price representing the cost of materials used in their 
production. 

The Central Braille Press is, however, not yet able to meet 
the demand even for textbooks. In view of this, the possibility of 
establishing regional Braille presses is being examined. 

An attempt is being made to accelerate the setting up of 
a workshop for the manufacture of Braille appliances. This is 
being done with the assistance of an ILO expert. Nevertheless, it 
may be several years before even the present demand could 
be effectively met. 

It will be seen from the foregoing review that, at present, 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 211 

hardly one per cent of the physically and mentally handicapped 
children in the age-group 6-14 are enrolled. Xo raise this propor- 
tion to 100 per cent is obviously a gigantic task. 

Difficulties of Expansion : A major issue which arises in this 
context is whether the physically or mentally handicapped children 
should be educated in ordinary schools (with special arrangements 
made for them) or whether they should be educated in special 
schools organized for them alone. Xhe modern trend in some of 
the advanced countries is to place the physically or even the 
mentally handicapped child in the ordinary school. This may, 
however, not be practicable in India for many years to come on 
account of a variety of difficulties such as large classes which make 
it impossible for the teacher to give individual attention to every 
child, the lack of special equipment or literature which cannot be 
made available to scattered children in ordinary schools, and poor 
communications which make travel difficult. In view of this, the 
special school at least for the blind, deaf and mentally handicapped 
children seems to be the only alternative in the immediate future. 

The main drawback of special schools, however, is their cost. 
In many schools, the cost of keeping a physically or mentally handi- 
capped child is Rs. 1,000 per annum or even more. The Ministry of 
Education recently attempted to prepare a scheme for bringing 
25 per cent of physically handicapped children in school. The cost 
of such a scheme, which was prepared on the assumption that only 
30 per cent of the children would be kept in special schools, came 
to about Rs. 520 millions for a period of two and half years. This 
will illustrate the difficulty in making education universally free 

and compulsory for all handicapped children in the foreseeable 
future. 

Another major difficulty is the lack of trained teachers. At 
present, this country is able to train only about 1 5 teachers for the 
in every year. If education were made free and compulsory for 
in children, about 45,000 trained teachers of the blind would 
e nee ed. Again, the present teacher training institutions for the 
eat c an train only a bout 5Q teachers annual]y) where as the country 
ould need about 23,000 trained teachers if education is made free 
and compulsory for deaf children. 

Finally, the dearth of special equipment and literature is 



212 


si3 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

another formidable difficulty. As pointed out earlier, the Central 
Braille Press is unable to meet even a fraction of the demand for 
Braille literature. A number of Braille presses will have to 
be established and an effective transcription service will have to be 
provided if the needs of all blind children are to be met. 

In view of these major difficulties, the provision of free and 
compulsory elementary education for physically and mentally handi- 
capped children does not appear to be possible in the near 
future. The country may have to rest content with gradually 
increasing educational facilities for these children. 

A Suggested Programme for Action : In view of these tremend- 
ous difficulties, it is obvious that any attempt to provide compulsory 
education for the handicapped children will have to be ruled out. 
All that can be attempted during the next 10-15 years is to expand 
the existing facilities for the education of handicapped children on 
a very large scale and thus to pave the way for the adoption 
of compulsory education at some future date. The following is a 
broad outline of a realistic and practicable programme which can 
be considered in this respect: 

(1) The population of blind and deaf children is very large and 
it is comparatively easier to provide schools for them. It is, there- 
fore, suggested that, during the next 15 years, an attempt should 
be made to provide at least one special school for the blind and one 
special school for the deaf children in each district. Since the 
number of districts in India is about 320 this will mean the 
establishment of about 650 institutions for blind and deaf children 
as against about 153 that exist at present. Further it is visualized 
that the proposed schools should be upgraded and the total enrol- 
ment in all these institutions may be roughly taken at 650,000 or 
about 100 pupils per school as against an average enrolment of 
50 at present. 

(2) The education, care and rehabilitation of mentally deficient 
children is more difficult and requires expertise at a high level. It 
is, therefore, suggested that at least two schools for the mentally 
deficient children should be established in each state. They should 
preferably be located in cities and towns having medical colleges 
and psychiatric facilities. 

It is also evident that the emphasis on the establishment of 


OTHER SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF EXPANSION 

special schools will have to be made to educate the handicapped 
children in the ordinary schools. From this point of view, the 
following programmes may be adopted: 

(1) An increasing number of orthopaedically handicapped 
children should be encouraged to go to ordinary schools. Restric- 
tions on the admission of such children in normal schools, wherever 
they exist, should be removed. 

(2) Wherever possible, special classes for partially sighted and 
hard of hearing children should be provided as adjuncts to 
ordinary schools. These children should be able to profit by 
education through ordinary methods if they could be provided 
special books or hearing aids, as the case may be. 

Conclusion : It is hoped that the adoption of the measures 

suggested above will be financially and administratively possible. 
With reasonable expansion in the facilities for the training of 
teachers, it should be possible to staff the new schools with an 
adequate number of competent teachers. The production of 
Braille appliances and hearing aids could also be gradually increased 
so that the needs of children in special schools might be effectively 
met. 

If the measures suggested above are to be adopted, action on 
three lines is indicated. First, Government will have to assign larger 
funds to the programmes of educating the handicapped children 
than has been done in the past. Secondly, the education of 
handicapped children will have to be developed more in the private 
sector than in the state sector because private enterprise can bring 
into the picture the services of devoted persons to a much larger 
extent. The state will, however, have to assist such voluntary 
organizations with very liberal financial assistance, which may ulti- 
mately have to be raised to 100 per cent (for recurring expenditure 
at least) so that the main contribution of the voluntary agencies 
will have to provide expertise and dedicated personnel. Thirdly, 
the public conscience for this unhappy group of children would 
have to be awakened so that humanitarian sentiments, which 
have been the main inspiration for the education of some of the 
handicapped children in the past, will continue to play their signi- 
ficant role in the future as well. 



SECTION THREE 

Some Problems of Qualitative Improvement 



SECTION THREE 


Some Problems of Qualitative Improvement 

This section deals with some problems of qualitative improve- 
ment of elementary education. Here, the most crucial factor is the 
teacher and problems relating to his improvement are dealt with in 
Chapter 12 (A Historical Survey), Chapter 13 (General Education 
and Training) and Chapter 14 (Remuneration and Service Condi- 
tions). Chapter 15 deals with the present status and future develop- 
ment of basic education which has been accepted as the national 
pattern at the elementary stage. Chapter 16 discusses improvement 
of physical facilities — buildings and equipment. Chapter 17 deals 
with problems of supervision and Chapter 18 with ancillary services 
such as the provision of school meals and health services, free supply 
of school books and writing materials and provision of uniforms. 
Chapter 19 deals with single-teacher schools and their special 
problems and in Chapter 20, some main areas in which research is 
urgently needed have been indicated. 



CHAPTER ii 


Elementary Teachers in India — A Historical Survey ( 1800-1961 ) 

Teachers in the Indigenous Elementary School : At the 

beginning of the nineteenth century, elementary education was 
provided almost exclusively in the indigenous schools. The instruc- 
tion given in these institutions, which catered mainly to the 
requirements of the petty zamindars, banias or well-to-do farmers, 
was of a practical type and mostly limited to the three R’s. The 
teachers were, therefore, men of humble attainments, and in most 
cases, had received no education other than in the elementary 
schools themselves. Many of them conducted the schools as a here- 
ditary profession. They had no special training in methods except 
what they had learnt through apprenticeship to some teacher in 
their early years or what they had observed while reading in the 
elementary schools. Their remuneration was generally low and 
varied from Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 per month, including all collections 
and occasional presents in cash and kind. More often than not, 
they had some other means of livelihood, either through land, 
or through some other profession pursued on a part-time basis. 
In view of the low prices which then prevailed, their total 
remuneration, meagre as it appears from the standards of today, 
was still comparatively high to enable them to belong to the 
respectable middle class. Their social status was even higher, 
partly because of their caste — a large number of these teachers 
belonged to the higher castes or were priests — and partly because 
even the humble education which they provided was greatly 
esteemed in the society. They were brought up in a tradition of 
earnest devotion to duty and took such keen interest in the 
education of every child entrusted to their care that they won the 
respect and affection of the entire local community, most of whose 
leading members would have been their students at some stage or 
other. This also enabled them to assume a natural role of leader- 
ship, not only in the cultural field, but in the entire life of the 
community. 



220 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHERS A SURVEY 


22 1 


Elementary Teachers in the Modern System of Education 
(Prior to 1855) : The modern cadres of elementary teachers have 

been evolved, during the last 160 years, from this community of indi- 
genous elementary school teachers and it is this evolution which will 
be briefly described in this chapter. 

The first efforts to develop a modern system of elementary 
education in India were made by the British administrators in the 
early decades of the nineteenth century. This was attempted in 
two ways : the establishment of government schools and the 

development of indigenous schools through grants-in-aid. The 
first of these methods was adopted in Bombay where the object of 
elementary education was defined ambitiously to include, not only 
the teaching of the three R’s, but also the spread, through modern 
Indian languages, of western science and literature. Since this 
objective could not be achieved through the indigenous schools, it 
was decided to establish government schools to realize it. A group 
of competent young men was, therefore, selected, trained over a 
period of three years, and appointed as teachers in government 
elementary schools. Their salaries were fixed at a fairly high level. 
These varied from Rs. 10 to 60 per month, and compared very 
favourably with the emoluments of the teachers in the indigenous 
schools. A similar attempt to spread elementary education through 
government schools was tried in the North Western Provinces and 
the Punjab, although the salaries of teachers were not so high and 
the objectives of the curriculum as well as the duration of training, 
were not so ambitious. In 1855, the Government of Bengal 
introduced the 'circle system' under which indigenous schools were 
proposed to be improved by employing and paying certain pandits , 
each of whom was attached to a circle of three or four village schools. 
The pandits trained and guided the village school teachers who did 
not receive any definite salary but earned grants on the basis of the 
results of their pupils. The rates of grants-in-aid, however, were so 
low that the total remuneration earned by a teacher was never more 
than Rs. 3 to 5 per month. It will thus be seen that, even at this 
early period, two different cadres of elementary school teachers 
began to grow up. The first was the cadre of elementary teachers 
who were regular government servants, who had received fairly 
good general education and some training, and who were given 


what may be regarded as adequate remuneration from the point 
of view of this period ; and the second was the cadre of elementary 
school teachers in aided schools who received small grants from 
government based on results, in addition to whatever the local 
community provided for them. 

Elementary education made but little progress prior to 1855. 
The statistics of 1855 showed only 1,202 departmental primary 
schools with an enrolment of 40,401. The aided and inspected 
schools numbered only 36 with an enrolment of 2,342. The bulk 
of elementary education at this period was, therefore, provided by 
the extra-departmental schools which numbered 1,572 with an 
enrolment of 54,540 and indigenous schools which numbered 47,866 
with an enrolment of 788,701. The general education, training or 
remuneration of teachers had been improved, as stated above, only 
in the departmental schools ; and in all the other institutions, the 
general conditions of elementary teachers continued to be the same 
as under the indigenous system. 

Elementary Teachers (1855-81) : Between 1855 and 1881, 

there was a great deal of expansion of elementary education. This 
was due to two reasons: The first was the levy of the local fund 

cesses recommended by the Despatch of 1859 ; and the second was 
the permission given to municipalities to establish and maintain 
elementary schools within their areas. In this period, therefore, 
two new categories of elementary schools came into existence: 
(1) the local fund schools financed mainly or exclusively by 
the proceeds of the local fund cess levied on land revenue in the 
rural areas ; and (2) the municipal schools established by the 
municipalities from their general revenues. (No special cess for 
education was levied in urban areas.) No detailed statistics are avail- 
able. But it may be said that, out of the total of 86,320 elementary 
schools (with an enrolment of 2,210,171) which existed in 1881-82, 
the government schools were the fewest and the indigenous schools 
the largest in number. The local authority schools (district board 
or rural or municipal or urban) occupied an intermediate position. 
The status and remuneration of the elementary teachers differed 
from one category to another. This division of the elementary 
teachers into three distinct categories with corresponding differences 
in status and remuneration continues to this day. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHERS A SURVEY 


223 


222 


Another significant development of this period was the 
improvement in the general education and professional training 
of elementary teachers. Owing to the spread of primary and 
middle school education, it was now possible to obtain as teachers 
the services of persons who had received general education at a level 
higher than that where they would be required to teach. Besides, 
the need of professional training had come to be recognized. In 
1885, there were only 7 training institutions for elementary teachers 
in India with a total enrolment of 197 students. In 1881-82, there 
were 106 training schools (15 for women) with a total enrolment of 
3,886 ( 3 > 37 1 and 515 women) at an expenditure of about 

Rs. 400,000. The overall percentage of trained teachers was 18.4 ; 
but that amongst the teachers in departmental schools was as high 
as 45.4 and in aided schools, it was only 8.6. These were not high 
standards by any means ; but they showed considerable progress 
since 1855. 

The remuneration of teachers also showed some improvement 
during this period. For the country as a whole, the average annual 
salary of a teacher was about Rs. 89. But the position varied 
considerably from area to area and from one category of school to 
another. In Madras, the average salary of a teacher was Rs. 7 per 
month in schools aided on the basis of payment-by-results ; in 
local board and municipal schools, they drew a fixed average 
monthly salary of Rs. 5 and a contingent income of about Rs. 2.50 
per month ; and in schools assisted on the basis of salary grants, the 
monthly remuneration varied from Rs. 5 for an assistant to Rs. 10-12 
for a headmaster. In Bombay, the salary varied from Rs. 4 per 
month to Rs. 60 per month ; but about 59 per cent of the teachers 
received salaries not exceeding Rs. 10 per month. Teachers whose 
salaries were more than Rs. 10 were also eligible for pensions. In 
Bengal, the average annual pay of a teacher of an upper primary 
school was estimated at Rs. 100 of which Rs. 48 were paid by 
government and Rs. 52 from local sources. In the lower primary 
schools, the salaries were much lower. Most of these institutions 
were aided and the amount of grant-in-aid was small — about 5,000 
schools getting a grant-in-aid of Rs. 30-40 per annum, about 34,000 
schools getting a grant of Rs. 5.5 per annum, and about 6,000 schools 
getting a grant-in-aid of Rs. 1.7 per annum. In these institutions, 


therefore, the remuneration of the teacher was mostly made of local 
contributions in cash and kind as in the indigenous schools. In the 
North Western Provinces, the monthly salaries of the Halkabandi 
teachers varied from Rs. 5 to Rs. 12 ; but they had no claim for 
pensions or gratuities. In Punjab, the minimum pay of a school 
teacher was fixed at Rs. 10 per month for headmasters ; but 
assistants received lower salaries, sometimes as low as Rs. 6 per 
month. The position in other areas was similar and fell some- 
where between the aided primary school teachers in Bengal on the 
one hand and the Government or local fund school teachers in 
Punjab and Bombay on the other. 

Elementary Teachers (1881-1901) : The Indian Education 

Commission recommended that the administration of elementary 
education should be transferred to local bodies, that larger financial 
allocations should be made to elementary education and that 
definite steps should be taken to expand elementary education as 
quickly as possible. It also emphasized the need to improve the 
general education and training of elementary teachers. But it made 
no recommendations regarding improvement in the remuneration 
and social status of teachers and contented itself by saying that all 
parties are agreed as to the advantage of raising the status of the 
village schoolmasters and the measures appropriate to that end may 
be left to the local authorities. The provision of liberal aid . to 
indigenous schoolmasters is obviously the most simple and effective 
means of raising their position'. 1 

In 1901-02, the total number of elementary schools rose 
to 102,177 with enrolment of 3,564,245. Of these only 569 were 
conducted by government because the recommendation of the 
Indian Education Commission to transfer elementary education to 
local bodies had been universally accepted ; i7>545 were conducted 
by local bodies ; 3,567 were maintained by the erstwhile princely 
states ; 61,638 were aided ; and 18,858 were unaided. It will thus 
be seen that the bulk of the schools was conducted either by the 
local bodies or by private agencies. As was pointed out above, the 
remuneration of teachers was much lower in these institutions than 
in government schools and in consequence, their teachers generally 
had a poorer standard of general education and professional 

2 Report, pp. 140-1. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHERS A SURVEY 


224 

training. The extreme reduction in the number of government 
schools and the consequent increase in the number of local autho- 
rity or private elementary schools, therefore, did have an adverse 
effect on the education, training and remuneration of elementary 
teachers. 

The total number of primary teachers* in 1901-02 was esti- 
mated at 111,259. During the preceding two decades, the number 
of training institutions for elementary teachers had increased to 155 
with an enrolment of 5,405 and an annual recurring expenditure 
of Rs. 0.471 million. But on account of expansion, the percentage of 
trained teachers in 1901-02 was only 18.4, the same as in 1881-82 — 
and only 20,474 teachers had received training. Of the others, as 
many as 56,241 were described as having other qualifications which, 
in practice, meant either the passing of a higher examination in 
general education (such as middle school or lower secondary), or the 
completion of a satisfactory service for a specific period which varied 
from two to seven years in the different provinces ; and 34,544 
teachers were described as being ‘unqualified’ which, in practice, 
meant that they had received no education beyond the elementary 
school itself. The overall position of the general education and 
professional training of elementary school teachers in 1901-02 was 
thus only slightly better than that in 1881-82. 

The remuneration of teachers also did not show any improve- 
ment. In 1901-02, the average annual salary of a primary teacher 
was only Rs. 91 as against Rs. 89 in 1881-82. The highest salaries 
were paid in government schools where they varied from Rs. 5 to 20 
in Madras, to Rs. 8 to 55 in Punjab and Rs. 7 to 60 in Bombay. Next 
in order came the local board schools where salaries varied from 
Rs. 2 to 17 in United Provinces, to Rs. 5 to 15 in Madras, Rs. 4 to 40 
in Punjab and Rs. 7 to 60 in Bombay. The lowest remuneration was 
given in the aided schools and it varied from Rs. 3 to 8 in Bengal, to 
Rs. 3 to 15 in Madras, Rs. 3 to 28 in Punjab, Rs. 2 to 20 in United 
Provinces and Rs. 3 to 60 in Bombay. It is true that teachers in 
Punjab or Bombay could rise to a monthly salary of Rs. 55 or Rs. 60 ; 
but the number of such posts was very small and did not materially 
affect the average remuneration of teachers. In fact, it was the low 

* The data regarding middle school teachers for 1901-02 are not available. 


285 

remuneration of the teachers of this period, which had hardly shown 
any improvement during the previous two decades and the purchas- 
ing power of which had become much less owing to the rise in prices 
of commodities, that was mainly responsible for the failure to attract 
adequately educated persons to the profession and for the large 
proportion of untrained or unqualified teachers. 

Elementary T eachers ( 1901-21 ) : With the turn of the century, 
greater attention came to be paid to improving the general 
education, professional training and remuneration of elementary 
school teachers. This was due to several reasons. In England, a 
significant movement for the qualitative improvement of education 
had been initiated by the Education Act of 1902 and it led to a 
similar shift in emphasis in Indian Education also. The objectives 
of elementary education were now redefined more ambitiously 
with the result that the need to have better educated, better trained 
(and consequently better paid) teachers began to be felt more 
keenly. The Government Resolution on Educational Policy, 19x3, 
gave high priority to teacher improvement. It directed that 
teachers should be drawn from the class of the boys whom they 
will teach ; they should have passed the middle vernacular exami- 
nation or have been through a corresponding course, and should 
have undergone a year’s training. Where they have passed through 
only the upper primary course and have not already had sufficient 
experience in a school, a two years’ course of training is generally 
desirable. This training may in the first instance be given in small 
local institutions, but preferably, as funds permit, in larger and 
more efficient central normal schools. In both kinds of institutions 
adequate practising schools are a necessary adjunct and the size of 
the practising school will generally determine the size of the normal 
school. As teachers left to themselves in villages are liable to 
deteriorate, there are great advantages in periodical repetition and 
xmprovment courses for primary school teachers during the school 
vacations. Trained teachers should receive not less than Rs. 12 
per month (special rates being given in certain areas) ; thev should 
be placed in a graded service ; and they should either be eligible for 
a pension or admitted to a provident fund.’ During the First World 
War there was an inordinate rise in the prices of commodities, and 
even on economic grounds, it became essential to improve the 
*5 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHERS A SURVEY 


227 


226 

remuneration of teachers. It was also a fortunate coincidence that 
this happened to be a boom period in Indian finance so that the 
large additional funds required for implementing these programmes 
could be readily found. The net result of all these circumstances 
was to bring about a considerable improvement in the academic 
and economic status of elementary school teachers between 

1920- 21. 

By 1921, elementary education expanded very considerably. In 

1921- 22 the number of elementary schools was 166,809 with a total 
enrolment of 6,432,804 as against 102,177 elementary schools with 
3,564,245 pupils in 1901-02. This implies an increase of about 
63 per cent in schools and of about 87 per cent in enrolment. But 
the increase in the direct expenditure on elementary education 
was much greater — it rose from Rs. 11.8 millions in 1901-02 to 
Rs. 67.5 millions in 1921-22. The main reason for this increase was, 
not an increase in the number of schools or enrolment, but a rise 
in the average annual salary of the elementary school teacher. This 
increased, for primary teachers, from Rs. 91 in 1901-02 to Rs. 174 
in 1921-22. The statistics of the average salary of middle school 
teachers in 1901-02 are not available but in 1921-22 this was Rs. 393. 
As in the past, the pay scales of teachers varied largely from one 
province to another and also from one type of school to another. 
But by and large, it may be said that attempts were made, during 
this period, to raise the minimum salaries, to provide incremental 
scales of pay, wherever possible, and to improve old-age provision. 
In the Punjab, for instance, the average monthly salary of a 
qualified primary school teacher rose to Rs. 26. In the Central 
Provinces, the minimum salaries of primary school teachers in rural 
areas were Rs. 15 for untrained and Rs. 20 for trained, the teachers 
in the costlier districts getting an additional allowance of Rs. 3 per 
month. In the urban areas, these salaries were fixed at Rs. 17 and 
Rs. 22 respectively. In Bombay, the salaries were higher still and 
varied from Rs. 25 to Rs. 60. The remuneration of teachers was 
the best in these Provinces because the scales of pay were higher and 
the number of government and local authority schools was also 
comparatively larger. Madras and United Provinces occupied an 
intermediate position. In Madras, the local authority schools gave 
a minimum pay of Rs. 10 for untrained and Rs. 12 for trained 


teachers. In the aided schools, the annual grants-in-aid were 
increased to Rs. 48 per year for the untrained teacher with the lowest 
qualifications to Rs. 180 per year for the most qualified teacher. In 
United Provinces untrained assistants received a minimum salary 
of Rs. 12 per month while trained assistants were paid from Rs. 15 
to Rs. 20 and headmasters from Rs. 20 to Rs. 30. At the other 
extreme came Bihar and West Bengal where most of the schools 
were aided. In Bihar, the average fee collection in an aided school 
was Rs. 3 per month and in addition, the teacher received a small 
grant-in-aid which, in a large majority of schools, was not more than 
Rs. 3 per month and it rose to a maximum of Rs. 9 only in a few 
schools. In Bengal, the situation was no better and even the un- 
ambitious proposals formulated for improving the remuneration of 
teachers, could not be implemented owing to a lack of financial 
resources. In fact, if it were not for the effect of the low salaries 
prevailing in the numerous aided schools in Bihar, Bengal (or in 
other states like Madras), the average annual salary of teachers in 
the country as a whole would have been much higher. 

The contemporary reactions to this first national attempt at 
improving the remuneration of elementary school teachers beyond 
that in the indigenous schools are interesting. In spite of fact that 
the overall increase in the average annual salary of an elementary 
teacher was small, and in spite of the clear realization that a large 
part of it was under-written by the increase in the prices of 
commodities which had taken place during the First World 
War, there was a general feeling of satisfaction for what had been 
actually achieved. The government pointed out, and quite rightly 
too, that a very large proportion of the additional resources which 
became available for elementary education during this period was 
devoted mainly to improving the remuneration of teachers, and to 
providing them with a better old-age provision.* Even in the United 
Provinces, where the improvement in remuneration was not as out- 
standing as in Bombay or Punjab, the Director of Education 
reported that the 'pay now offered to the primary teachers raises 
them beyond the fear of want and there is apparently no difficulty 

* By 1921-22, teachers in government and local body schools generally got pensions 
and it was only the teachers of aided schools for whom no old-age provision of any 
type whatsoever was made. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHERS A SURVEY 


22 9 


2*8 

in getting recruits for the profession'. On the other hand, in areas 
like Punjab or Bombay, where the improvement in remuneration 
had been a little greater, there were some who warned the Depart- 
ment that it would be unwise to utilize all or most of the funds 
available in raising the salaries of teachers and that a mere improve- 
ment in remuneration of teachers would not necessarily be accom- 
panied by improvement in standards. But when all is said and 
done, the administrators of elementary education during this period 
must be complimented for improving the remuneration of teachers 
and for giving them back some of the ‘respectability' in society 
which they had lost rapidly towards the end of the nineteenth 
century on account of economic handicaps. This has been beauti- 
fully expressed by the Director of Education of the United 
Provinces, who observes: 

The teacher is a product of the past. For years, he has been despised, first 
because as a teacher he took pay at all for his service and again because having 
taken it, he took so little. The first thing he has to achieve under the new 
conditions is respectability. Wherever there is a teacher who is respected, 
there is a flourishing school.* 

This gain in the social status of the teacher, due to his 
economic improvement, was off-set, to some extent, on account of 
three developments. In the first place, the teacher was no longer 
exclusively a member of the higher castes or a priest. In fact, 
government had adopted the right policy of recruiting teachers from 
all classes of society, including the scheduled castes. The status 
respect which the indigenous school teachers enjoyed could not, 
therefore, be automatically obtained by the new cadres of elemen- 
tary school teachers. Secondly, many of these teachers came from 
classes which were entirely alien to education. They did not also 
have that tradition of learning and teaching which the teachers of 
the earlier generations had inherited through centuries. In 
missionary zeal, idealism and devotion to duty, therefore, this new 
generation of elementary school teachers was not quite equal to that 
of the old masters and this naturally led to a slight lowering in their 
social status as well. A third factor that affected the situation was 
the changing character of rural and urban economy itself under the 
impact of modern conditions. In the new set-up, a new social 

* Report of the Director of Education in the United Provinces, 1921-22, p. 90. 


leadership based on money, contact or influence with government, 
etc. was being built up and in this set-up, the elementary school 
teacher had hardly any place. By 1921-22, therefore, it may be 
said that the elementary school teacher in the towns had already 
lost his role in social leadership and that, in the villages, he was well 
on the way to lose it rapidly. 

On the academic side, however, the gains were undisputed. 
Owing partly to the spread of middle school and secondary school 
education, and partly to the improvement in remuneration, a better 
type of person now began to be attracted to the profession of elemen- 
tary teachers. Their general education improved considerably and, 
barring a few exceptional cases, no person who had not completed 
the middle school would ordinarily be recruited as an elementary 
school teacher. Even matriculates began to join the cadre, although 
their number was too small to make any impact. In the field of 
professional training also, there was a corresponding improvement. 
In 1921-22, the number of training institutions in India was 1,072 
with an enrolment of 26,931 and a total recurring expenditure of 
Rs. 5.096 millions as against 155 institutions with an enrolment of 
5,405 and a total recurring expenditure of Rs. .47 million in 1901. 
Owing to this expansion, the percentage of trained teachers also 
increased from 18.4 in 1901 to 39 in 1921-22, United Provinces and 
Punjab having the highest percentages of trained teachers (57) and 
Bengal, the lowest (25). What was more important, the quality of 
instruction provided in the training institutions was improved 
considerably. They were now provided with better staff, better 
buildings and equipment and were given a more impressive pro- 
gramme of instruction in pedagogics and subject content. In 
consequence of this improvement in the general education and 
professional training of teachers, it was possible for government to 
adopt richer curricula at the elementary stage and generally to raise 
standards. 

Elementary Teachers (1921-47) : This brilliant record of 

progress between 1901 and 1921 was maintained and in some 
respects, even carried forward during the next 25 years. By 1946- 
47, the total number of elementary schools in the country increased 
to 185,504 with an enrolment of 14.81 millions and a total 
recurring expenditure of Rs. 232.9 millions. The developments 



230 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHER S A SURVEY 


23 1 


in respect of elementary teachers had to keep pace with this 
unprecedented expansion. 

The first concrete development of this period was the emphasis 
on the enlargement of the objectives and scope of elementary 
education. The earlier ideas of restricting instruction in the 
elementary schools to the three R’s and some general knowledge 
could no longer be adopted. On the other hand, it was now felt 
that a student passing through the elementary school must become a 
responsible and useful citizen. It was in this attempt to retain the 
scope and content of elementary education that Mahatma Gandhi 
formulated his programme of basic education which was immediate- 
ly adopted, on an experimental basis, and after trial for a few years, 
for universalisation in all parts of the country. This important 
reform created the need for a much better type of elementary 
teacher than was ever had in the past. It was now felt that the 
minimum general education of an elementary teacher should be 
matriculation and that he should have received two years professional 
training thereafter. In the middle schools, a certain proportion of 
teachers had to be graduates. Even at the primary stage, it would 
be desirable to have trained graduates as headmasters, at least in the 
bigger primary schools. 

This larger expectation of the elementary teachers naturally led 
to an effort to improve his remuneration. Unfortunately, the years 
between 1925-1937 were those of the post-war retrenchment and the 
world economic depression. The average annual salaries of 
teachers in 1936-37 were, therefore, even lower than those in 1926-27. 
But partly from the urge to improve the remuneration of teachers 
on educational grounds and partly to meet the rise in the prices of 
commodities during the second world war, the remuneration of 
elementary teachers was stepped up considerably between 1937 and 
1947. Thus the average annual salary of a primary teacher in 
1946-47 was Rs. 387 as against Rs. 174 in 1921-22. At the middle 
school stage also, the average annual salary of a teacher in 1946-47 
was Rs. 561 as against Rs. 393 in 1921-22. Even if a part of this 
increase is under-written on account of the increase in the cost of 
living, the overall improvement is obvious and significant. 

This increase in remuneration, combined with a very large- 
scale expansion in secondary education, made it possible for state 


governments to improve the educational qualifications of elemen- 
tary teachers. Matriculates, who were just beginning to join the 
profession in 1921, were now found in considerable numbers in 
primary schools and to a still greater extent in the middle schools. 
Graduates also began to join primary schools — although their 
number still formed a microscopic minority — and many of them 
joined the middle schools. The duration of training was lengthen- 
ed, in many instances, to two years. The number of training insti- 
tutions fell to 649 in 1946-47, as against 1,072 in 1921-22. But this 
was really a gain because the smaller and inefficient institutions were 
eliminated and replaced by bigger and better ones. The total enrol- 
ment in training institutions increased from 26,931 in 1921-22 to 
38,773 in 1946-47 and their total expenditure from Rs. 5.096 
millions in 1921-22 to Rs. 8.005 millions in 1946-47. The percent- 
age of trained teachers also rose from 39 in 1921-22 to 64 in 
1946-47. As in 1921-22, there were large variations from province 
to province, the highest percentages of trained teachers being 
found in Madras and Punjab and the lowest in Bengal and Bihar. 

Elementary Teachers (1947-61) : The post-independence period 
has witnessed the greatest expansion in elementary education. In 
1960-61, the total number of elementary schools in the country rose 
to 381,359 with an enrolment of 372,59,620 and a total recurring 
expenditure of Rs. 1166 millions. In spite of this unprecedented 
expansion, it was possible to maintain progress in improving the 
economic, academic and social status of elementary school teachers. 

The remuneration of elementary teachers showed considerable 
improvement during this period. The average annual salary of a 
primary teacher increased from Rs. 387 in 1946-47 to about Rs. 900 
in 1960-61 and that of a middle school teacher from Rs. 561 in 
1 946-47 to about Rs. 1,100 in 1960-61. Since there has been an 
increase in the prices of commodities during this period, a part of 
this increase in remuneration would have to be under-written. But 
even after making due allowance for this fact, it cannot be gainsaid 
that there has been a substantial improvement in the remuneration 
of elementary school teachers in the post-independence period. 

It may be admitted that this increase in the remuneration of 
elementary teachers has not been uniform in all the states and areas. 
In metropolitan cities like Delhi or Bombay, the remuneration 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHER S A SURVEY 


233 


232 

offered to elementary teachers is probably the best in the country. 
Among the states, the remuneration is high in states like Punjab, 
Gujarat or Maharashtra and lowest in states like Uttar Pradesh 
and Bihar. The following table shows the average emoluments 
of primary and middle school teachers in the different states 
of India in 1960-61. 


TABLE 40: REMUNERATION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS 

(1960-61) 


State 

Average annual salary of a 

primary teacher middle school 

teacher 

Rs. Rs. 

Andhra Pradesh 

938.2 

1,007.6 

Assam 

747.7 

869.0 

Bihar 

700.6 

935.5 

Gujarat 

1,242.3 

1,050.0 

Jammu & Kashmir 

680.1 

1,133.7 

Kerala 

1,091.1 

1,050.0 

Madhya Pradesh 

888.8 

946.2 

Madras 

875.9 

973.3 

Maharashtra 

1,199.7 

1,262.2 

Mysore 

963.9 

981.5 

Orissa 

504.0 

936.0 

Punjab 

1,146.8 

1,378.6 

Rajasthan 

923.9 

1,121.8 

Uttar Pradesh 

624.4 

863.2 

West Bengal 

782.7 

1,118.1 


Steps have also been taken to improve the old-age provision for 
elementary school teachers. In so far as government schools are 
concerned, the problem hardly arises, and all elementary teachers in 
government schools get pension-cum-gratuity like other government 
servants. In the local authority schools, the arrangements made 
vary from one state to another and the old-age provision actually 


made falls in three categories. In the first category come teachers 
who are eligible for pension or pension-cum-gratuity. This includes 
states like Rajasthan where primary teachers working under the 
Panchayat Samitis have been given the same privileges in respect 
of old-age provision as government servants. Gujarat which has 
provided pension to all teachers working under local body schools, 
although subject to a slight differentiation between them and the 
government servants, and Maharashtra which has sanctioned a 
scheme of ad hoc pensions for elementary teachers in local authority 
schools, also fall in the same category. In the second category, we 
may include states such as Madras or Andhra Pradesh in which 
elementary school teachers under local bodies are given the triple- 
benefit scheme. Under this scheme, the elementary teachers (1) get 
a pension at one-fourth of the average retiring salary, (2) get a 
provident fund at three per cent of the salary, and (3) are also 
required to insure their lives for specified amounts. In the third 
category come states like Uttar Pradesh, where the only old-age 
provision made for elementary teachers in local authority schools is 
the institution of a contributory provident fund. It may, therefore, 
be said that by and large, fairly adequate old-age provision has now 
been made for all teachers in the public elementary schools 
conducted by government and local authorities. The problem, 
however, has still to be solved in respect of private elementary 
schools. For them, some states like Madras have provided a triple- 
benefit scheme. But in most areas, there is no old-age provision 
for the vast majority of teachers in private elementary schools. 

The improvement in the general education of elementary 
teachers has kept pace with, or even gone beyond, the improvement 
in their remuneration. The Government of India recommended 
that matriculation or its equivalent should be prescribed as the 
minimum educational qualification for an elementary teacher. This 
recommendation has now been accepted in most parts of the country. 
In states like West Bengal, Punjab or Kerala, no non-matriculate 
teacher is recruited. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan 
or Madhya Pradesh, the man teacher is almost always a matriculate ; 
but owing to the non-availability of women teachers, middle passed 
women have often to be recruited as teachers especially in rural 
areas. In states like Maharashtra, the minimum qualification still 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


234 

continues to be a pass in the examination at the end of the middle 
school ; but preference is given to matriculates who are readily 
available in adequate numbers. Taking India as a whole, therefore, 
it may be said that about 75 per cent of all new recruitment to the 
cadre of elementary teachers is of matriculates only. In fact, the 
recruitment of non-matriculates is now confined very largely to two 
groups: (1) women and (2) scheduled tribes. What is even more 
important, however, is that graduates are now joining elementary 
schools in ever increasing numbers. At present, about 20,000 
graduates are working in elementary schools and this number is 
increasing very rapidly. It may, therefore, be said that the average 
elementary school teacher of today is much better educated than his 
counterpart on the eve of the attainment of independence. 

The progress in the field of professional training has also been 
very good, although it could not keep pace with the improvements 
in general education. In 1 960-6 1 , there were 1,122 training 
institutions for elementary teachers with a total enrolment of 
121,696 which shows a very great advance since 1946-47* But 
owing to the large expansion achieved, the percentage of trained 
teachers did not show any material increase. Taking the country 
as a whole, the percentage of trained teachers in 1 960-6 1 was 
practically the same as in 1946-47* dable 41 shows the per- 
centage of trained elementary school teachers in the different 
states in 1960-61. 

From the qualitative point of view, however, the training insti- 
tutions for elementary teachers left a good deal to be desired. The 
Government of India had recommended that the duration of the 
training should be increased to two years. It had not been possible, 
even in 1960-61, to implement this reform in several states such as 
Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, where the 
duration of teacher training is still one year. Moreover, it has not 
been possible to provide staff of high competence for these train- 
ing institutions, nor is the provision of buildings and equipment 
made for them, adequate. These problems have just begun to 
attract attention and it would be some time before they can 
be satisfactorily solved. 

The problem of the social status of teachers also received some 
attention during this period. It was realized that the elementary 


ELEMENTARY TEACHER S A SURVEY 2 35 

TABLE 41: TRAINED ELEMENTARY TEACHERS (1960-61) 

Percentage of trained 


State 

primary teachers 

middle school 
teachers 

Andhra Pradesh jf . . 

82.9 

77.0 

Assam 

39.3 

25.9 

Bihar 

71.2 

63.6 

Gujarat 

35.6 

54.3 

Jammu & Kashmir 

54.1 

56.7 

Kerala 

90.8 

77.9 

Madhya Pradesh 

51.0 

50.8 

Madras 

95.9 

96.5 

Maharashtra 

49.8 

72.8 

Mysore 

43.4 

61.3 

Orissa 

38.5 

33.9 

Punjab 

92.1 

90.6 

Rajasthan 

50.8 

50.3 

Uttar Pradesh 

74.8 

77.8 

West Bengal 

38.1 

14.8 

Total 

60.6 

60.3 

school teachers in general did not enjoy an adequate social status, 
either in urban or in rural areas. Some steps to improve the situa- 
tion were, therefore, taken. Reference has already been made to 
the increase in their remuneration and to the improvement in their 
academic qualifications. Both these measures did help to some 
extent in raising their overall social status. The Ministry of 
Education instituted a scheme of national awards for teachers under 
which several outstanding elementary school teachers are selected 
every year from all the states of India and given awards of Rs. 500 
by the President of the Union. The scheme has been very helpful 
in inviting public attention to the nation-building work which these 


teachers are doing. 



236 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 


ELEMENTARY TEACHER S A SURVEY 


*37 


General Conclusions : The foregoing account of the evolution 
of the present cadres of elementary teachers in India from the in- 
digenous elementary schools which covered the country at the 
opening of the 19th century throws interesting light on a number 
of major problems involved. 

(1) During the last 160 years, the remuneration of school 
teachers has been gradually rising. The average annual salary of a 
primary teacher was about Rs. 60 in the indigenous school at the 
opening of the 19th century. Towards the close of the century in 
1901-02, it rose to Rs. 91. During the present century, the rise has 
been much steeper, especially at the time of the two world wars and 
in the post-independence period. The average annual salary of a 
primary teacher, which was only Rs. 91 in 1901-02 rose to Rs. 174 
in 1921-22, Rs. 387 in 1946-47 and about Rs. 900 in 1960-61. 
The average annual salary of a middle school teacher has also 
risen similarly from Rs. 393 in 1921-22 to Rs. 561 in 1946-47 
and to Rs. 1,100 in 1960-61. A substantial part of this increase 
has to be written off on account of the rise in the cost of 
living. But even when allowance is made for this factor, the aver- 
age remuneration of an elementary school teacher today is much 
better than what is was a few years ago. It will, however, have to 
be admitted that the primary teacher in India still continues to be 
one of the poorly paid public servants and that his wage compares 
unfavourably with that of other public servants with similar 
qualifications. 

(2) The general education of elementary school teachers has 
improved considerably, due partly to the better remuneration given 
and partly to the expansion of general education at all levels. In 
1800, the average elementary school teacher knew little beyond what 
he was required to teach. Today, the matriculates form a very large 
proportion of the cadre of elementary teachers and new recruitment 
is being largely confined to those who have completed the secondary 
school. Quite a few graduates have joined the profession and their 
number is continually increasing. 

(3) The training programme for elementary school teachers has 
also made considerable progress. In 1800, there was not one teacher 
training institution in the country and even the concept of teacher 
education was not accepted. By 1960-61, professional training of a 


fair standard came to be provided for elementary school teachers and 
about 64 per cent of them were already trained. 

In spite of these gains, there are a number of problems 
that still await solution. The remuneration of the elementary 
school teachers has to be improved still further and a better arrange- 
ment has to be made for their old-age provision. The recruitment 
of non-matriculates has to cease and the proportion of graduates has 
to be increased substantially. Training has to be expanded and its 
standards have to be raised. The general service conditions of 
elementary school teachers (inclusive of the methods of recruitment) 
have to be improved. These problems are proposed to be discussed 
in the next two chapters. 



GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


CHAPTER 13 

General Education and Training of Elementary Teachers 

The proper education and training of elementary teachers has 
now become far more important than at any time in the past. This 
is mainly due to the vast changes that are now being introduced in 
the system of elementary education. There is first the national 
decision to provide free and compulsory education to all children 
in the age-group 6-14 which is leading to a phenomenal expansion 
of elementary education. It has created a number of difficult 
problems such as heterogeneous grouping of pupils with extremely 
varied socio-economic backgrounds, classes of large sizes, a steep 
rise in the number of single-teacher schools, and the need to provide 
ancillary services such as school meals or school health, which are 
too difficult to be handled adequately by an untrained or inade- 
quately educated teacher. Moreover, our expectations of what a 
primary school should achieve now transcend far beyond the earlier 
humble goal of mere literacy. We desire to create a new social 
order based on democracy and socialism. The attitudes and be- 
haviour patterns which will create and establish such a social order 
have to be built in the minds of children in the elementary school 
itself, partly because this is the only education which the largest 
proportion of children in the country will ever receive, and partly 
because an early attempt to develop these attitudes would bring 
in the most fruitful results. Even in the acquisition of knowledge 
or skills, the tasks which an elementary school of today is expected 
to perform have become far more exacting than previously. The 
concept of basic education, with its emphasis on the use of a craft 
as a creative medium and on the development of instruction in 
close correlation with the social and physical environment of the 
child poses a great challenge to the teacher. Moreover, as know- 
ledge tends to grow, the curricula of elementary schools are being 
rapidly enriched with many subjects or ideas which were formerly 
taught in secondary schools. If the elementary teachers are to 
perform satisfactorily these new and challenging tasks expected of 


2 39 

them, they will have to be given a much higher level of general 
education and a far better quality of professional training than at 
any time in the past. 

General Education 

Regarding the general education of elementary teachers, the 
broad objectives of policy have now been universally agreed. As 
early as 1944, the Sargent Plan recommended that the minimum 
general education of an elementary teacher should be the com- 
pletion of the secondary school. This recommendation has been 
reiterated by the Government of India on a number of occasions 
and has been accepted, in principle, by all the state governments. 
In addition, there is also a general trend in favour of employment 
of graduates on as large a scale as possible. At the middle school 
stage, it is obviously desirable to have trained graduates as head- 
masters and, amongst the assistants, the larger the proportion of 
trained graduates, the better will be the standards. Even at the 
primary stage, it would be desirable to have trained graduates as 
headmasters of at least the bigger schools. It has been suggested 
that a trained graduate may be the headmaster of every primary 
school with more than 200 children and that in a primary school 
with more than 500 children, both the headmaster and the 
assistant headmaster may be trained graduates. 

These plans for the improvement of general education of 
elementary school teachers are fundamentally sound and will lead 
to an improvement of standards. The rate of expansion of 
secondary and university education in India is now so great that 
there would be no difficulty in obtaining an adequate number of 
matriculates or graduates to staff the elementary schools on the 
basis of the proposals made above. What is needed, therefore, is 
the devising of suitable means to overcome the administrative and 
financial difficulties that come in the way of universal acceptance 
of these recommendations. The first and probably the most im- 
portant step that we will have to take is to provide higher 
scales of pay to elementary teachers so as to attract competent 
matriculates and graduates to join the profession. Another pro- 
blem is created by the practice of some state governments to 
reserve a proportion of the total number of posts available for 



3 4° elementary EDUCATION IN INDIA 

non-matriculate teachers, as a measure of economy, because the scales 
of pay of the non-matriculate teachers are much lower. This 
practice also will have to be discontinued with a consequent 
increase in expenditure. The third difficulty which affects rural 
areas in general and remote and inaccessible areas in particular, is 
that matriculate or graduate teachers are generally not willing to 
go and work in them. An attempt has been made to attract 
qualified teachers for these areas by grant of special allowances or 
through provision of such amenities as free quarters. But the 
response has not been very encouraging and in such areas, there- 
fore, the minimum qualifications have generally to be relaxed. In 
respect of women teachers and teachers from the backward classes 
also, the minimum qualifications required have often to be lowered 
to below the matriculation standard ; and here the only way out 
is to increase the supply of women matriculate or graduate teachers 
by adopting any or all of the methods indicated earlier in 
Chapter 9 and generally to expand secondary and higher educa- 
tion among the backward classes. It is because of the difficulties 
involved in implementing these concrete programmes, and not 
because of any disagreement in principle, that the progress in the 
general education of elementary teachers is being slowed down. 

Table 42 shows the proportion of matriculate teachers to the 
total number of teachers in elementary schools as well as the 
proportion of matriculate teachers to total number of teachers 
recruited in each year since 1949-50. 

It will be seen from this table that the number of 
matriculate teachers to total number of elementary teachers was as 
low as 12.59 i n 1 949~5° an d that it has increased to 37 per cent in 
1 959-6o. This is really considerable progress. But it does not 
show the recruitment of matriculate teachers in proper perspective. 
A large number of the non-matriculate teachers now working in 
elementary schools were recruited long ago and so long as they 
continue in service, the proportion of matriculates will not show a 
very appreciable increase. The figures in columns 11 and 12 of 
the table would, therefore, be found particularly interesting because 
of the light they throw on the recruitment of matriculate teachers. 
Column 1 1 gives the increase in the number of matriculates and 
column 12 gives the proportion of this increase to the increase in 


TABLE 42: NUMBER OF MATRICULATE TEACHERS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 




ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


*43 




the total number of elementary teachers. It will be seen there- 
from that the addition to the number of matriculate teachers was 
the lowest (only 36.4 per cent of the total increase in the number 
of teachers) in 1951-52, and that it was the highest (101.6 per cent) 
in 1956-57. It may also be seen that the proportion of matriculate 
teachers recruited is continually increasing and that it now stands 
at about 80 per cent. If these trends continue, it is anticipated 
that more than 90 to 95 per cent of the new recruitment in the 
Fourth Five-Year Plan would be of matriculate teachers. 

Table 42 gives only the all-India totals. The position varies 
considerably from state to state as may be seen from the following 
table for 1960-61 : 


TABLE 43: NUMBER OF ELEMENTARY TEACHERS 
ACCORDING TO QUALIFICATION (1960-61) 


State 


Number of teachers by qualifications 


Graduates 

Matri- 

culates 

Non- 

matriculates 

Total 

Percentage of 
matriculates 
to total 

Andhra Pradesh 

860 

31,577 

54,801 

87,238 

36 

Assam 

182 

6,323 

28,801 

35,306 

18 

Bihar 

1,358 

29,419 

53,804 

84,581 

35 

Gujarat 

415 

21,128 

37,264 

58,807 

36 

Jammu & Kashmir 

276 

4,441 

2,099 

6,816 

65 

Kerala 

958 

41,275 

33,075 

75,308 

56 

Madhya Pradesh 

2,711 

26,365 

49,886 

78,962 

33 

Madras 

313 

40,040 

70,316 

110,669 

36 

Maharashtra 

1,330 

36,444 

76,836 

114,610 

31 

Mysore 

555 

28,194 

43,820 

72,569 

34 

Orissa 

165 

6,587 

36,170 

42,912 

15 

Punjab 

2,793 

22,996 

10,874 

36,663 

62 

Rajasthan 

1,549 

30,480 

10,109 

42,138 

72 

Uttar Pradesh 

3,313 

32,321 

86,679 

122,313 

26 

West Bengal 

3,967 

60,063 

30,569 

94,599 

64 


It will be seen from Table 43 that the proportion of matriculate 
teachers is the highest in Rajasthan (72 per cent). Then comes 
Jammu & Kashmir with a proportion of 65 per cent. This 
is followed by West Bengal (64 per cent), Punjab (62 per cent) 
and Kerala (56 per cent). At the other end of the scale is Orissa 
where the proportion of matriculate teachers to the total is only 
15 per cent. Then come Assam (18 per cent), Uttar Pradesh 
(26 per cent), Maharashtra (31 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (33 per 
cent), Mysore (34 per cent), Bihar (35 per cent) and Gujarat and 
Madras (36 per cent each). Even if the bulk of new recruitment 
is of matriculates only, the large proportion of non-matriculate 
teachers existing at present will be reduced only gradually as they 
retire from service. 

How can this large proportion of non-matriculate teachers be 
reduced rapidly in future? The first suggestion is that the 
policy of regarding matriculation as the minimum qualification for 
elementary teachers should be adhered to more and more rigidly 
that each state should fix a deadline beyond which no non- 
matriculate should be recruited as an elementary teacher. In view 
of the large expansion of secondary education, it may be possible 
to fix this deadline at 1965-66 in most states ; but such deadlines 
should be laid down in all states by 1970-71 at the latest. In the 
meanwhile, steps should be taken to see that the preparation of 
women teachers or teachers for tribal areas is expanded consider- 
ably so that there is no need to recruit non-matriculates for these 
categories of teachers beyond the deadline. It has also been suggested 
that adequate opportunities and incentives may be provided to 
existing non-matriculate teachers to improve their qualifications 
through programmes of further self-education. A liberal provision 
of study leave should be made for this purpose and those teachers 
who improve their qualifications should be given a higher scale of 
pay or permitted to earn increment in their own scale. 

In this context, mention may also be made of the increasing 
trend to employ graduate teachers at the elementary stage. Table 44 

ows the number of graduate teachers working in elementary 
schools since 1949-50. 

It will be seen that there has been considerable increase in 
tie number of graduate teachers during the last twelve years. In 



244 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


general education and training 


245 


TABLE 44: GRADUATE TEACHERS IN ELEMENTARY 

SCHOOLS 


Year 

Total number of graduate teachers 


Men 

Women 

Total 

1949-50 

4,239 

1,356 

5,514 

1950-51 

4,818 

1,297 

6,115 

1951-52 

5,684 

1,542 

7,226 

1952-53 

5,673 

1,625 

7,298 

1953-54 

7,906 

1,977 

9,883 

1954-55 

8,844 

2,063 

10,907 

1955-56 

11,083 

2,436 

13,519 

1956-57 

11,406 

2,912 

14,318 

1957-58 

12,767 

3,489 

16,256 

1958-59 

13,051 

3,812 

16,863 

1959-60 

14,709 

4,674 

19,383 


the years to come, this increase will be faster still, partly because 
of the expansion of university education and partly because of the 
improvement in the remuneration of elementary teachers. This 
process will also be accelerated if the existing matriculate teachers 
are provided with adequate incentives and opportunities to become 
graduates through further self-education. 

Training of Teachers 

Professional Training— Some Deficiencies : From the review 

of the historical development of the training of elementary teachers 
in India given in Chapter 12, it would be seen that there has 
been considerable progress in this sector during the last 160 years. 
In spite of these achievements, however, the present position of the 
training of elementary teachers in the country is far from happy, 
especially if it is evaluated in the light of the new challenges in 
elementary education. First of all, not every teacher is trained 
and the percentage of trained teachers in 1960-61 was only 64. Even 


at the end of the Third Five-Year Plan, when the percentage of 
trained teachers would rise to 75, there would still be a big backlog 
of untrained teachers which is estimated at 406,000. Moreover, it 
has to be pointed out that even the trained elementary teachers 
of today are not fully equipped to discharge their heavy responsi- 
bilities satisfactorily. What we have been able to evolve so far is 
only a programme of pre-service training. No steps have been 
taken till now to develop the more important and useful concept 
of inservice training. Even the pre-service programme that we 
have developed suffers from a number of deficiencies. Although 
a period of two years is generally agreed to be the minimum 
required for proper pre-service training, the duration of the 
training course is still one year in a number of states. The total 
number of training institutions is inadequate and their locations 
have not been carefully planned. The average size of a training 
institution is too small to make it an economic and efficient unit. 
The status of the institutions is, by and large, low, and equated to 
that of a secondary school rather than to an institution of higher 
education. The scales of pay for teacher educators are conse- 
quently lower than what they should be and, generally, the 
staff of the training institutions need to have much better qualifi- 
cations in general education and should be better prepared for the 
specialized job of the training of elementary teachers. Most of the 
training institutions function in academic isolation and have no 
vital links with the elementary schools in the field. The syllabii are 
often out-dated, the methods of teaching rather obsolete the 
lecture method being the one the most commonly employed and 
the training programme, as a whole, not as effective as it should 
be. The physical plant of many training institutions leaves much 
to be desired. Very often, they do not have adequate buildings 
or equipment. If the training of elementary teachers is to be 
radically improved, the removal of these deficiencies would have 
to be regarded as an urgent programme of high priority. 

Clearing the Backlog of Untrained Teachers : The first step 
in a programme of qualitative improvement of elementary teachers 
would be to clear the large backlog of untrained teachers, esti- 
mated at 406,000 at the end of the Third Plan, through a planned 
expansion of the existing facilities for teacher training. At present, 



246 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


*47 


it is only in a few areas like Madras or Kerala that there is no such 
backlog and the existing facilities for teacher training have been 
expanded to a point where the output of trained teachers in any 
given year is more or less equal to meet the demand for new 
teachers, either for replacement or for new enrolment. In most 
other areas, there is a large backlog of untrained teachers and a 
vicious circle has, besides, been created by the absenec of adequate 
training facilities. The number of training institutions being 
limited, most of their seats are reserved for the training of teachers 
in service — who have a priority — and the admission of freshmen to 
these institutions is severely restricted. Consequently, the trained 
teachers available in the market are so few that most of the new 
recruitment has to be from among untrained teachers only. The 
failure to admit freshmen to training institutions in adequate 
numbers thus leads to the recruitment of untrained teachers ; and 
such recruitment, in its turn, restricts the admission of freshmen 
to training institutions still further. To break this vicious circle, 
two steps are needed: (1) to clear the backlog of untrained teachers 
in service ; and (2) to increase the output of training institutions 
to a point where it can easily meet the demand for trained teachers. 

It may be pointed out that the backlog of untrained teachers 
varies largely from state to state. In a state like Madras or Kerala, 
it hardly exists. In a state like Uttar Pradesh the problem did not 
exist at the end of the Second Plan. But owing to the immense 
expansion in the Third Five-Year Plan, the percentage of trained 
teachers is expected to fall to 75 * n 1 965-66, and to create the 
problem at the end of the Third Plan. In a state like Assam, the 
percentage of trained teachers at the end of the Second Plan was 
only 35.9 and this may even go down still further during the Third 
Five-Year Plan on account of expansion. This problem of clearing 
the backlog of untrained teachers thus becomes very acute in this 
state. The programme to be designed to remove this deficiency, 
therefore, will have to vary from state to state. 

A second point to be remembered in this context is that this 
problem can be made easier by adopting shorter courses of training 
for some groups of teachers. If every untrained teacher has to 
undergo a full-fledged training course of two years, the clearance 
of this backlog would be both costly and a long-term programme. 


But, fortunately, it is not necessary to do so. It is possible 
to divide the existing untrained teachers in three different cate- 
gories and to devise shorter programmes of training for two of them. 
For instance, a very large number of untrained teachers would be 
above 35 years of age and would have already put in 10 to 15 years 
of service. In view of their experience and age, it would not be 
desirable to submit them to a full-time training course of two years. 
A shorter course of in-service training spread over 5 to 6 months 
would serve the purpose. If necessary, this initial course may be 
supplemented by one or two short courses of 3 months’ duration, 
given at intervals of 3 to 5 years. Such a phased programme of 
in-service training would secure all the academic advantages with- 
out submitting these teachers to hardships which inevitably arise 
when a man in the middle of life is required to undergo full-time 
training of two years in a residential institution. Similarly, teachers 
who are below 35 years of age and have put in 5 to 7 years’ service 
might be given only a shorter training of one year. Full-time 
training of two years might be provided to those teachers only who 
are below 35 years of age and who have put in less than about 5 to 7 
years of service. The number of such teachers is, however, very 
small ; and it should be possible for every state which has to face 
this problem, to prepare a phased programme of clearing its back- 
log during the next four or five years. 

The Government of Maharashtra has recently prepared such 
a programme and proposed to clear all its backlog of untrained 
teachers by 1964-65 and to recruit no untrained teachers beyond 
June, 1965. Similar schemes can easily be drawn up by other states 
where large backlogs of untrained teachers exist. The Study 
Group on the Training of Elementary Teachers in India have 
recommended that every state should prepare a programme for 
liquidating its backlog of untrained teachers by a prescribed date 
(which should in no case be later than 197 1), and that, after this 
date, no untrained teacher should be recruited for appointment in 
elementary schools. This is a very practicable suggestion and 
could be easily implemented. 

It has been estimated that the total cost of providing a full- 
time two-year training course to all untrained teachers in service 
at the end of the Third Five-Year Plan would be as high as Rs. 406 



*4$ elementary EDUCATION in INDIA 

million. The recommendations made above will reduce its cost to 
about Rs. 150 million. 

Expansion of Training Facilities : The clearance of the exist- 
ing backlog of untrained teachers is only a temporary solution 
of the problem and unless steps are taken simultaneously to 
expand training facilities to the extent necessary, the backlog will 
accumulate again. 

How will a state estimate its annual demand for trained 
teachers during the next 10 to 15 years and plan the expansion of 
its training facilities? The Study Group on the Training of 
Elementary Teachers in India suggest that this may be done on 
two assumptions: (1) the number of teachers required for replace- 

ment may be taken at 4% of the existing number; and (2) the 
number of teachers required for new enrolment should be estimated 
on the basis of the additional enrolment expected in elementary 
schools during the period and a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:45. 
Depending upon their present level of advance, it may be possible 
for some states to reach 100% enrolment in the age-group 6-14 by 
*975 > others may reach 100% enrolment only in the age-group 
6-11 and 75% enrolment in the age-group 11-14 i and even the least 
advanced states, it is hoped, will reach 100% enrolment in the age- 
group 6-11 and 50% enrolment in the age-group 6-14. On the basis 
of these assumptions, the number of additional teachers required 
as well as the number of additional places required in training 
institutions (on the assumption of a uniform training course of two 
years and a wastage of not more than 10%) can be estimated as 
shown in Table 45. 

It thus appears that our minimum annual requirements 
of elementary teachers would be 236,000 and that the maximum 
would be 587,000, depending upon the target to be reached and 
the pupil-teacher ratio to be adopted. Assuming a pupil-teacher 
ratio of 45: 1, it appears that our annual requirement of teachers 
will vary between 291,000 and 398,000 during the Fourth and the 
Fifth Five-Year Plans. This implies an increase of 2| to 3 times 
in the existing provision of training places for elementary teachers 
which stands at only about 120,000. The immense task that lies 
ahead can thus be imagined. 

These global estimates for the country as a whole cannot be 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


*49 




250 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


taken as the basis for defiled planning in which the case of each 
state will have to be dealt with separately. The Study Group on 
the Training of Elementary Teachers have suggested that each 
state should work out its own requirements of additional teachers 
during the next 10 to 15 years and, on that basis, ascertain the 
number of additional places that it will need in training institu- 
tions. These estimates can then become the basis of a planned 
programme for the development of teacher education in that 
state. 

For finalization of such plans, however, decision on some 
ancillary matters would also have to be taken. The first of these 
is to determine the optimum size of a training institution. At 
present, there is a great variation in the size of these institutions. 
In some cases, there are institutions which admit only 20 candi- 
dates or so, whereas, in certain other cases, there are institutions 
which admit as many as 300. An important problem which needs 
investigation in this regard is to decide the optimum size for 
a teacher training institution. The optimum size implies that the 
institution should neither be too big nor too small. It also implies 
that an institution of this size will try to combine the advantages 
of both the small and the big institutions — the homely atmosphere 
and personal touch of the small institution with the economy and 
specialization of the big one. If such a size can be determined, 
and all or most of our training institutions planned on that basis, 
it would be possible to have a great deal of economy without 
sacrificing quality. It may even be possible to reduce costs and 
to increase efficiency simultaneously. The First National Seminar 
on the Education of Primary Teachers in India recommended that 
the optimum size of a training institution should be of four classes, 
two classes of first year and two classes of second year, preferably 
of 40 to 50 trainees each. The Seminar also considered it desirable 
to restrict admissions to the minimum, namely, 40 trainees. How- 
ever, in view of the urgent requirements of teachers, it was 
considered desirable that the upper limit, namely 50, may be 
adopted as a purely temporary measure. In no circumstances, 
however, it was felt, should the enrolment of 50 be exceeded. The 
trainees have to specialize in crafts and do community work ; 
training itself involves individual attention ; and guidance, super- 


25 1 

vision and criticism of practice lessons wohld not be effective with an 
enrolment of more than 50. The Seminar based this recommen- 
dation on the general experience that a training institution with 
less than four classes is rather costly and that an institution with 
more than 200 trainees becomes rather bulky. The four-class unit 
or institution was, therefore, considered as both manageable and 
economical. The Seminar also suggested that the existing small 
institutions in the states should be raised to this optimum 
size. 

As soon as the optimum size of a training institution is 
determined, it would be possible to ascertain the number of 
additional seats that could be provided in existing training institu- 
tions ; and, as a next step, it would also be possible to determine 
the number of new institutions a state would need in order to meet 
its demand for additional teachers as estimated above. 

The problem of the location of the new training institutions 
would then arise. The Study Group on the Training of Elementary 
Teachers in India have pointed out that, in the past, the location 
of training institutions had been more fortuitous than planned and 
have suggested that the following principles should be kept in view 
in locating these new institutions: 

(1) A district should be taken as the unit of planning and 
each district should be provided with as many training institutions 
as are required to meet the demand of elementary teachers within 
its area ; 

(2) Since 80 per cent of the population is rural, about four- 
fifths of the training institutions should be located in rural areas ; 

(3) As the training institutions need practising schools of a 
fair size, an ideal location for a training institution would be a 
township with a population between 5,000 and 15,000. This will 
provide the necessary facilities of a practising school on the desired 
scale without detracting from the rural character of the location ; 
and 

( 4 ) The institutions should be so located that they would 
be easily accessible from all parts of the district. There is a 
proposal that each training institution should provide extension 
services to primary and middle schools within its neighbourhood. 
The location of training institutions should, therefore, be so 



252 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

planned that when these services are started, it should be possible 
to cover most of the primary and middle schools in the district. 

If a Master Plan for the location of training institutions could 
be prepared on these lines in the next year or two, it should be 
possible to implement it in the Fourth Five-Year Plan. This 
would be of great assistance in shifting the emphasis in elementary 
education to qualitative improvement. 

Sometimes proposals of this type are opposed on the ground 
that they would lead to a good deal of wasteful expenditure. It is 
argued that, during the next ten years, the additional enrolment 
expected in elementary schools would be very large because it 
would have to take care of the growth of population as well as of 
the backlog of unenrolled children. Once the goal of universal 
education was reached, all further increase in enrolment would be 
needed only to take care of the growth in population. It is, 
therefore, felt that the additional enrolment in elementary schools, 
and consequently the requirement of additional teachers, would be 
considerably reduced after universal education was provided to all 
children and that this would necessitate the closure of a number of 
institutions that would be started in the near future on the basis 
of the demand for additional teachers between 1965-1975. 

If this were really to happen, there is no doubt that a good 
deal of wasteful expenditure would result. It may be pointed out, 
however, that these fears are not quite justified. It is anticipated 
that the rate of increase in enrolment during the Fourth and Fifth 
Five-Year Plans would be about 5 to 6 per cent and that it would fall 
to about 2 to 5 per cent thereafter. This should lead to a reduction 
in the demand for additional teachers were it not for four balancing 
factors. Once the goal of universal education was reached, there 
would be no need to maintain a high pupil-teacher ratio as 45: 1. 
In fact, the attempt then would be to reduce the pupil- teacher 
ratio to the extent possible. In the same way, once the programme 
of expansion was completed, there would be a demand for pro- 
viding in-service education to teachers on a much larger scale and 
this would require the conversion of some institutions of pre-service 
education into those of in-service education. Thirdly, there would 
also arise a demand for lengthening the duration of training 
from two to three years ; and lastly, when universal education for 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 253 

eight years is provided, a demand would generally be made to 
extend it to nine years. These four factors, taken singly or 
in combination, are more than enough to counterbalance the 
probable reduction in the demand for teachers on account of the 
fall in additional annual enrolment after the goal of universal 
education is reached. It may, therefore, be fairly safe to prepare 
plans on the basis suggested by the Study Group on the Training 
of Elementary Teachers. 

Improvement in Lands , Buildings and Equipment : Unfortu- 

nately a very large number of the existing training institutions lack 
even the minimum of essential physical facilities, such as an 
adequate campus, buildings (for tuition, library and laboratory, 
craft-sheds, hostels and staff quarters), and equipment. Not all of 
them have practising schools of their own. The absence of these 
basic requirements lowers the standards and reduces the effective- 
ness of the training programme to a very large extent. It is, there- 
fore, necessary to take immediate steps to improve these facilities 
to a minimum level in all the existing training institutions and to 
provide them adequately in all the new institutions that are 
proposed to be established. 

The Ministry of Education carried out, in 1959-60, a survey 
of the existing training institutions for elementary teachers in the 
country. Its findings on the adequacy or otherwise of these 
facilities in the existing training institutions have been summarised 
in Table 46. 

It will be seen that, in respect of tuitional buildings, most of 
the institutions in the states of Assam, Bihar, and Punjab are 
housed in their own buildings. In contrast to this, most of the 
institutions in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and 
Madhya Pradesh are accommodated in rented buildings, or some 
make-shift arrangements have been made for them with the help 
of other educational institutions. 

The position regarding libraries is not satisfactory in a number 
of states. In the states of Punjab, Bihar and Maharashtra, more 
than 80 per cent of the institutions have such facilities. Orissa and 
West Bengal need a lot of improvement in this respect — in 
the former, only 37 per cent and in the latter only 43 per cent of 
the institutions have library facilities. 



TABLE 46: FACILITIES AVAILABLE IN TRAINING INSTITUTIONS FOR ELEMENTARY TEACHERS 



14. Uttar Pradesh 


general education and training 255 

In the Punjab, 72 per cent of the institutions have labora- 
tories, in Gujarat 59 per cent and in Maharashtra 48 per cent. As 
compared to these, no institution in Orissa has a laboratory. Only 
4 per cent of the institutions in West Bengal, 5 per cent in Bihar, 
7 per cent in Assam and 15 per cent in Kerala have laboratories. 
In this age, when the teaching of science is being given so much 
emphasis, it seems essential for every training institution to have a 
laboratory of its own. 

As regards craft-sheds or rooms, most of the institutions in 
West Bengal and Bihar and more than half in Orissa, Mysore and 
Assam are without them. It may be that the position, as depicted 
in these tables, does not convey the correct picture regarding basic 
training institutions, because separate figures are not given for 
basic training institutions. 

As regards practising schools, all the institutions in Uttar 
Pradesh have such schools of their own. The position in Assam, 
Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh is also fairly 
satisfactory where more than 75 per cent of these institutions have 
this facility available. In contrast to this, 24 per cent of the insti- 
tutions in Orissa, 29 per cent in Rajasthan and 26 per cent 
in Madhya Pradesh have this facility. The objective in this respect 
should be to have one practising school attached to every teacher 
training institution. 

With the exception of Assam and Bihar, where almost all the 
hostels are located in their own buildings, the position in other 
states is not satisfactory. In the states of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, 
Maharashtra, Mysore, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, less than half 
the number of institutions have their own buildings. 

It is observed that 'residences for the trainees in the hostels are 
not compulsory everywhere and some institutions do not have the 
necessary facilities for the purpose either. It should be noted that 
the training of teachers is a whole-time project and that a good deal 
of the efficiency of training is lost if the trainees are only day 
scholars. Activities in connection with community work, craft 
work and socialisation of participants suffer a good deal of set-back 
in the absence of proper residential facilities for the trainees. It 
is, therefore, extremely desirable to see that all the training institu- 
tions are fully residential and that the hostel buildings are quite 



25 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


*57 


adjacent to the institutional buildings so as to help in the proper 
organization of community activities and pupil participation’. 1 

The position of quarters for the members of the staff of the 
training institutions is very unsatisfactory in most of the states. In 
Assam, 65 per cent of teachers have residences available to them 
and in West Bengal 40 per cent. In contrast to these, only 6 per 
cent of the teachers in Mysore, 7 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, 8 per 
cent in Kerala, 10 per cent each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, 
and 13 per cent in Gujarat have this facility available. 

What is needed is a complete survey of the existing training 
institutions in order to ascertain the existing level of facilities 
provided and to determine the additional expenditure necessary in 
order to raise them to a prescribed minimum standard in all 
essential respects. Such survey would obviously have to be carried 
out by each state for all the institutions within its area. They 
would give an idea of the total funds required for raising the 
existing training institutions to a given level. 

Types of Courses and Their Duration : Another important 

problem which arises in this context refers to the types of courses 
for pre-service training and their duration. 

At present, the elementary teachers can be divided into three 
groups on the basis of their qualifications: graduates, matriculates 
and non-matriculates. There is no special provision at present to 
train the graduates as elementary teachers. They generally go to 
ordinary training colleges and get a B.T. or B.Ed. degree which, 
more often than not, is designed for the preparation of teachers 
for secondary schools. In some instances, they also join the post- 
graduate basic training colleges which are mainly meant for 
preparing supervisors of elementary schools or members of the staff 
of training institutions for primary teachers. As the number of 
graduate teachers employed in elementary schools increases, this 
problem will become acute and steps will have to be taken 
to provide a good training programme of one year’s duration 
to prepare them as teachers of elementary schools. 

The second category, that of matriculate teachers, is a small 
group at present. It will be this group that will form the large 

1 Report of the First National Seminar on the Education of Primary Teachers in 
India, Ministry of Education , 1961, p. 129. 


majority of elementary teachers within a few years. The existing 
position is that some states provide a two-year training course for 
matriculates whereas others provide only a one-year training course. 
The exact position as it now stands in each state is given below: 

Andhra Pradesh : There is no uniformity. For freshers, the training course 

is of two years' duration ; but for teacher-candidates in the Telengana area 
and for secondary grade trainees in Andhra area, the duration of the course is 
one year. 

Assam : The duration is one year for teachers of junior basic schools. In the 

case of teachers for senior basic schools, it is one year if the teacher has passed 
the matriculation examination besides the normal school course ; but if he is 
only matric, the duration of training is two years. 

Bihar : The duration is two years (both for freshers and teachers). But a 

separate course of six months’ duration is arranged for teachers with seven 
years’ experience. 

Gujarat : It is two years for the Junior Certificate Course for those who have 

passed the Primary School Certificate Examination. For the Senior Certificate, 
duration of the course is two years. 

Jammu & Kashmir : It is one year after matriculation. In the case of middle- 

passed women candidates also, it is one year. 

Kerala ; Two years’ duration for all. 

Madhya Pradesh : One year training course for all except in Mahakoshal 

region where it is of two years’ duration. 

Madras : Two years for both junior basic and senior basic. 

Maharashtra : For matriculates, (i) 2 years for Senior Certificate ; and (ii) one 
year for Junior Certificate. For middle passed, two years for a Junior 
Certificate. 

Mysore : For S.S.L.C’s it is a one-year course. For non-S.S.L.C’s it is two 
years’ course. 

Orissa : Two years for all, whether matriculates or non-matriculates. 

Punjab : Two years for matriculates. 

Rajasthan : One year for matriculates. 

Uttar Pradesh : Two years* course. 

West Bengal : (a) One year for a primary training school. ( b ) one year in a 

junior basic training college followed by six months of actual work of supervised 
teaching in a school and a completion (residential) course of one month. 
Himachal Pradesh : One year. 

Delhi : Two years. 

Tripura ; One year. 

Manipur : One year. 

Pondicherry : Two years. 

As early as 1944, the Sargent Plan recommended that the 
duration of the training course for matriculates should be two years. 
This recommendation has been repeatedly made by the Govern- 
ment of India on a number of occasions and has also been broadly 
agreed to in principle by the state governments. In spite of this 

*7 



*59 


25& ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

agreement in principle, however, it has not yet been possible for 
some states to raise the duration of the training course to two years. 
The difficulties are mainly three. The first is that, in some states, 
there is a great shortage of trained teachers and it is felt that the 
increased duration of training course would aggravate, rather than 
improve, the situation. The second is a financial difficulty — the 
inability of the state governments concerned to find the funds 
required to expand the duration of the course. The third is the 
difficulty of teachers themselves. It is argued that, in rural areas 
and in the poorer sectors of the community, the parents desire their 
children to start earning as early as possible. If the duration of 
the training course is increased, the students will have to spend a 
much longer period at school and this would adversely affect the 
interests of the poorer classes. It is obvious, however, that these 
difficulties need not be taken seriously. The first of these could 
be overcome by prescribing a minimum percentage of trained 
teachers to be reached before the introduction of a two-year training 
course is attempted. The second is not a major issue and the funds 
required for this programme will have to be found, even within the 
existing allocations, by giving it a higher priority. The third can 
be overcome by instituting an adequate number of scholarships and 
stipends. The Study Group on the Training of Elementary 
Teachers in India, therefore, recommended that the duration of 
the training course should be raised uniformly to two years in all 
parts of the country as soon as practicable. According to the 
original target laid down for the Third Five-Year Plan, this goal 
was to be reached by 1965-66. It should be possible to keep to this 
target, or to reach it within another year or two. 

Yet another point is sometimes raised in this context. It is 
argued that the Sargent Plan recommended a duration of two 
years for the training course on the ground that the entrants to the 
training schools would be matriculates. Now that the higher 
secondary course has been introduced, it is argued that the duration 
of the training course should be reduced to one year, at least for 
those who have passed the higher secondary or Intermediate 
examinations. This problem was examined by the Study Group 
on the Training of Elementary Teachers in India. It felt that it 
would not be desirable to reduce the duration of the training course 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 

to one year even for the higher secondary or Intermediate 
students. In the opinion of the Study Group, the largest part of 
the training course should be devoted to pedagogy because, at the 
elementary stage, the methods of teaching are of far greater 
importance than the subject content. Students who have passed 
the higher secondary or Intermediate examinations may have 
some better general education, but they are no better than the 
matriculates in so far as their pedagogic requirements are con- 
cerned. Besides, the trainees need time to build up right attitudes 
and to digest properly all the new body of knowledge and skills 
with which they are confronted in the training course. A period 
of two years is probably the minimum required for this purpose. 

At present, the duration of training for non-matriculates also 
is either one year or two years. This is not a very happy position. 
The non-matriculate teachers need to be strengthened in their 
general education and they have to be put through the same course 
of pedagogy as the matriculate teachers. It, therefore, follows that 
the duration of the training course for non-matriculates should be 
longer, say, three years. This suggestion is, however, opposed on 
the ground that it is too long a period and that it will create 
hardships for two important groups of teachers : women and tribals. 
As a measure of compromise, it is suggested that, while the general 
duration of pre-service training course for non-matriculate teachers 
may be kept at two years for some time to come, steps should be 
taken to provide intensive courses of in-service education for them 
so that their standards would be broadly on a par with those of the 
matriculate teachers. 

Syllabi . Even more significant are the programmes intended 
to improve the syllabi and teaching methods in training institutions 
for elementary teachers. When we study the syllabi followed in 
the training institutions of the different states, we find that they 
are as varied as the land and the people. Since traditional training 
institutions co-exist with basic institutions in some states, the 
syllabi not only differ from state to state, but also from institution 
to institution within the same state. Where such separate types 
exist, attempts have been made (as in Mysore) to make the syllabi 
as similar as possible, except in regard to community living and 
era t training. It is hoped that the traditional courses will, before 



2 6o ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

long, be superseded by basic courses and that in this process the 
two aspects of the prospective teachers’ development, personal and 
professional, will be properly harmonized. 

In some states, more time is devoted to the teaching of general 
subjects like languages, mathematics, science and social studies. 
This naturally reduces the time available for professional subjects 
like Principles of Education, Psychology, School Organization and 
Management and Methods of teaching subjects. In Madras, teaching 
of general subjects is omitted and emphasis, as far as these 
subjects are concerned, is on the methods of teaching these subjects 
although, during the periods set apart for methods of teaching 
the subjects, subject matter is also dealt with. The total time 
devoted for practice teaching also varies. In some states, there 
is greater emphasis on practice teaching while in other states 
the emphasis is less. Since the candidates who come out of the 
training institutions have to take up teaching work, it is quite 
necessary that the training course should provide ample opportu- 
nities for practice teaching. Another important point that will 
have to be considered is giving the teacher practice in handling 
plural classes. When most of the states are launching upon the 
programme of free and compulsory primary education, it will be- 
come necessary to open as many new schools as possible and most 
of these may not warrant the appointment of more than one 
teacher. Hence most of the elementary teachers will have to handle 
plural classes at some stage or another and special training for this 
is necessary. 

In order to give a lead to the necessary reform in this context, 
a detailed model syllabus may be drawn up by the Ministry 
of Education. It is also desirable to form an All-India Association 
of Training Institutions for Elementary Teachers on the lines of 
the All-India Association of Training Colleges at the graduate level, 
to discuss common problems relating to the administration, orga- 
nization, etc., of elementary teacher training. The model syllabus 
should also take into consideration the best elements of the basic 
and non-basic syllabi. It should also be so integrated as to include 
the theory and practice of community development in so far as they 
relate to the education of the child and health education. The 
community development programme in the villages requires, not 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 361 

only help and participation of the teachers, but their leadership. 
The Education Department and Community Development Depart- 
ment should accept the programme of community development as 
equal partners and should make all-out efforts to implement it in 
the proper spirit. For this purpose, the orientation of the primary 
school teachers to the programme of community development 
is not to be regarded as an end of the programme but only its 
beginning. The idea that the primary school must become the 
centre of the local community is accepted all over the world and 
by asking the teachers to undertake this work we will only be 
making an effort to bring the school and the community closer. It 
may also be emphasized that the underlying idea in introducing this 
programme is only to do what is legitimately a part of education 
in bringing the school and the community nearer each other. 

The arrangements made for practice teaching by the trainees 
during their training period also vary from state to state and from 
institution to institution. In some cases it is concentrated over a 
number of weeks whereas in certain other cases, it is spread over 
the entire duration of the training course. To improve matters in 
this respect, the provision of a school on the campus of a training 
institution is absolutely essential. This, however, would not suffice 
by itself. Some arrangement with institutions off the campus 
would also be desirable. The trainees should also have continued 
supervision from the members of the staff and should be regularly 
visited by them when they are put on practice teaching in schools 
off the campus. The provision of a van in all training institutions 
for these visits should be considered an essential part of the 
equipment. 

The place that should be assigned to the teaching of craft in 
the training institutions is also an important question. There is a 
feeling that too much time is devoted to craft work to the detri- 
ment of academic work. It is suggested that the time devoted to 
craft should be balanced in relation to the time schedule for 
academic work. The introduction of home craft as a major craft 

tor women trainees may be accepted and implemented in all the 
states. 

th ° n f ° f the stron S P oints in the system of teacher education at 
me under-graduate level is the emphasis on community living. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


262 

‘Community living means much more than mere organization of 
extra-curricular activities. It indicates that the whole institution 
— students and staff, teaching and non-teaching — forms a com- 
munity working to achieve definite goals Training in com- 

munity living should try to develop among trainees feelings of 
brotherhood, co-operation, self-help, service to community and 
a spirit of toleration and goodwill. Through social and cultural 
activities and educational tours, the training will foster an under- 
standing of the cultural heritage of the nation and its industrial and 
economic potentiality. Through manual labour programmes, it 
will bring the trainees in close contact with villages and their 
problems of reconstruction in respect of education, sanitation, etc., 
and the part the school community has to play in this field. The 
student community will live and board together. The daily routine 
in respect of safai — individual and community — kitchen duties, 
management of the mess, and selection and preparation of menu 
for the mess, will play a vital part in healthy living. To meet any 
emergency, the training will include also first aid and ambulance 
work, and a knowledge of simple remedies for common ailments. 
To derive the full benefit of community living, it is essential that 
the college should have a decent and commodious hostel, and 
residence in it should be compulsory'. 2 The general pattern 
of community living includes the following activities: community 
prayer, safai or cleanliness in the training school, in the hostel and 
in the village, observance of good health and hygienic practices, 
kitchen work, repair of buildings, observance of festivals and 
anniversaries, self-government, extension service including social 
education activities, cultural and recreational activities and excur- 
sions and picnics. 

While there may be variations according to local conditions, 
the following areas should be covered in the syllabus: 

A. Education 

(1) Principles and practice of education. 

(2) Educational psychology and child development. 

(3) Methods of teaching and content of school subjects. 

(4) a) Languages, ( b ) General science including health education, (c) Social 

studies inclusive of community development, ( d ) Mathematics. 

(5) School organization and administration. 

2 Ibid , p. 204. 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 263 

(6) Community living and extension service. 

(7) Physical education. 

B. Art and Craft 

(1) One main craft. 

(2) One subsidiary craft. 

(3) Art- 

(4) Music and drama. 

C. Practical Work 

(1) Community survey and services. 

(2) Child study. 

(3) Preparation of teaching aids. 

It has been suggested earlier that the Ministry of Education 
should make a thorough study of the problem of the syllabus and 
make its findings available to the states so that they can consider the 
revision of their syllabi. It will also be an advantage if the 
Ministry of Education were to prepare a handbook for the teacher- 
educators in the country. 

Since most of the training institutions are residential, and 
community-living is an integral part of the training given in them, 
it should be comparatively easy to organize a variety of co-curricular 
activities. Participation in scouting and guiding should also be 
included m the programme. 

Methods of Teaching : It is a well-known fact that the 
ecture method is, by and large, the most prevalent method in 
teacher training institutions. Lecture method has its advantages 

terhnin° tal °” 11 is no ^ des irable. It is suggested that the 

ques ^ o seminars, tutorials, assignments, surveys, projects, 
e c., are given their due place in the working of the training 

wo^k^h"^ h haS . als ° been observed that the amount of written 
work which the trainees put in during their period of training is 

equate This too deserves more attention. Trainees should 
e encouraged to take up problems and study them, write on them 

Lnt w!" T Cm ^ Sma11 ^P 8 ' This P ractice ™11 go a 

also d I 1 "- 1Va L ng Pr ° per haWtS of stud 7 in the trainees and 
Urn ^ T thC much - needed ^nse of confidence. The 

teaching I ? emmar . jested the adoption of the following 
g methods in training institutions: 

zlinT/rZ ai f ed and SU PP lemented b y audio-visual aids, discussions, written 
assignments, classroom visitations; 



264 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


265 


(if) Lectures which will lead to further reading for finding out more facts 
related to the topics taught, training in the use of bibliography ; 

(iii) Tutorials ; , 

(iv) Covering topics by setting long-term assignments, asking for bibliographical 
references in order to develop self-study techniques, practical assignments ; 

(v) Survey of educational problems, survey of educational facts, community 
survey, etc. ; 

(vi) Child study followed by written reports and discussions ; 

(vii) Classroom observation in practising schools ; 

(viii) Organized school visits and follow-up ; 

(ix) Organized tours and excursions ; 

(x) Group work: (1) study circles, (*) practical projects, (3) theoretical pro- 
jects, (4) practical -cum -theoretical projects ; 

(xi) Methods involving group dynamics and co-operative problem-solving like 

(а) symposia, ( b ) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) panel discussions, etc. A few 
topics from each subject of the course may be carefully selected so that they 
may be covered through group methods ; 

(xii) Conducting simple experiments or studies, e.g., construction, administra- 
tion and analysis of objective tests ; a survey of spelling mistakes of children of 
a particular class, etc. ; 

(xiii) Learning-by-doing techniques — helping in understanding of theory in 
relation to practical work experience — projects at the following level may be 
undertaken : 

(1) Projects or units of work at trainees’ level ; and 

(2) Units of work at children’s level undertaken during practice teaching ; 
(xiv) Planned practical work in relation to (1) crafts, (3) child study, (3) com- 
munity uplift work, (4) practical teaching, (5) construction of teaching aids, 

(б) literature for children, (7) evaluation programme, (8) organization of 
community life activities ; and 

(xiv) Demonstration lesson by the staff of the training institutions, teachers of 
practising schools and student-teachers ; discussions of such lessons. 

Examinations : In some states, there is great emphasis on the 

external aspect of examinations, but in others, the internal aspect 
is more stressed. In some states, examinations are conducted 
mostly by written papers whereas, in certain other states, the 
practical tests far outnumber the written tests. It is also noticed 
that the training institutions lay a lot of emphasis on the new type 
of examination only in theory ; but in actual practice, they seldom 
make use of it and generally rely on the traditional type of examina- 
tion almost completely. The general tendency is to assess the 
practical work internally and to require an external examination 
in theory. A question to be considered is whether it is not desir- 
able also to assess achievement in theory through internal tests. If 
it is thought that the time is not yet ripe for a full internal assess- 


ment of theoretical studies, it should be possible at least to set apart 
a certain percentage of marks for internal evaluation as has been 
done in some states. 

With regard to the assessment of skill in teaching, there are 
two practices ; it is assessed wholly internally or internal assessment 
is supplemented by a final examination. With regard to craft work, 
the normal practice is to assess it internally. But in some states, 
there is an external test also. Some states have also an external 
examination in Theory of Craft. 

Although the defects of an external examination are well- 
known, such examinations may continue in training institutions for 
some time to come ; but in the meanwhile, some reforms should 
be attempted. The following are suggested from this point of 
view: 

(i) Practical work, including teaching practice, craft and art 
work, and community living should be assessed internally 
by the staff of the training institution. So far as the practice 
teaching is concerned, a machinery should be evolved to co- 
ordinate the results of different institutions and to maintain 
standards. 

(ii) Subjects like educational or community survey might be 
treated as non-examination subjects. A record of progress 
should be enough. 

(Hi) Theory papers should be externally examined ; but 
25% of the marks should be awarded on the basis of class 
work. If theory papers are too many a few of them can be 
examined at the end of the first year. The content sub- 
jects, viz., science, social studies, mathematics and languages 
may be examined internally. 

(iv) Cumulative records should be maintained by the train- 
ing institutions. These should be utilized in finalizing 
internal assessment. If these records are carefully kept and 
staff meetings are held at regular intervals to discuss them, 
some uniformity in assessment may be achieved. It will 
lead to objectivity also. 

(v) In the external examination, the nature of questions 
needs revision. Questions should not be of such nature as 



2 66 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


would lead to cramming. Instead of asking only questions 
of fact, examiners should also try to measure the ability to 
understand, the ability to solve problems and the ability to 
apply principles. Short answer questions may also be 
helpful. 

With reference to the suggestion made in (i) above regarding 
a machinery to co-ordinate the results of different institutions and 
to maintain standards, it might be mentioned here that the Mysore 
University has already constituted a Co-ordinating Board for the 
purpose in connection with the B.Ed. Examination. The Co- 
ordinating Board, which consists of representatives of all the B.Ed., 
Colleges, meets once at the beginning of the academic year and 
visits each college twice in a year. The first meeting is meant 
to decide the details of the practical work, including practice 
teaching, preparation of teaching aids, construction of objective 
tests, etc., which should be internally assessed. The two visits are 
meant for checking the standards of evaluation and to moderate the 
marks where necessary so as to bring about a uniform standard in 
all the colleges. This has worked very successfully and the same 
system, in a modified form, has been extended in the Mysore State 
to the training institutions at the elementary level also. Each 
district is a unit and a Co-ordinating Committee with two heads 
of training institutions as members and the District Educational 
Officer as chairman, visits each training institution in the district, 
checks up the standards of valuation and brings about uni- 
formity. The desirability of having such Co-ordinating Boards 
for training institutions may be considered by the State Education 
Departments. 

Supervision of Training Institutions : The general practice in 
this respect is that it is left to the Education Officers at the district 
and divisional levels. In some states there is, no doubt, a special 
officer in charge of teacher training at the Directorate level. But 
he is mainly concerned with policy matters. The District Officers 
and the Divisional Officers are so fully engaged with primary and 
secondary education that they find very little time to look into the 
working of training institutions. This situation will become worse 
with the introduction of compulsory primary education and the 
expansion of secondary education. It is felt that there should be a 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 367 

special agency for the supervision of training institutions with a 
Special Officer at the Directorate level. The academic inspection 
of these institutions should ordinarily be carried out by a panel 
constituted from amongst the staff of training institutions, officers 
of the Education Department and non-official educationists and the 
routine administrative inspection may be left to the District or 
Divisional Officer. 

Improvement of Staff: Perhaps the most significant pro- 

gramme for the reform of training institutions for elementary 
teachers would be to improve their staff. This has both a quanti- 
tative as well as a qualitative aspect. 

From the qualitative point of view, it may be stated that 
existing practices vary from state to state. In Uttar Pradesh and 
West Bengal, the staff-student ratio is the lowest in India— 1 to 9. 
At the other end comes Bihar with a staff-student ratio of 1 to 24. 
The other states stand somewhere in between, Rajasthan and 
Madhya Pradesh having a ratio of 1 to 10, Mysore, Orissa and 
Punjab of 1 to 14, Andhra Pradesh of 1 to 16, Kerala of 1 to 17 
and Madras and Maharashtra of 1 to 18. In the training colleges for 
secondary teachers, the staff-student ratio is generally kept at 1 to 
10. It may be desirable for the training institutions for elementary 
teachers also to adopt the same ratio. 

The problem of prescribing higher qualifications for the staff 
of training institutions for elementary teachers has to be taken up 
without delay. At the moment, the staff of these institutions is 
generally interchangeable with teachers in secondary or higher 
secondary schools and has the same qualifications. In actual 
practice, however, these institutions are nearer to the training 
colleges than to the higher secondary schools. It is, therefore, 
essential to upgrade their salaries and bring them on a par with those 
of lecturers, assistant lecturers or tutors in training colleges for 
secondary teachers. This will also imply the raising of their quali- 
hcatmns. Every member of the staff for a training institution 
S ou be required to hold the Master’s degree (with a second class 
at feast) m a basic subject and in Education. He should have at 
least three to five years’ experience of teaching in an elementary 
S ? °° working as a supervisor in a primary school. It may 

a so e esirable to institute a selection grade amongst inspectors 



2 68 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


or supervisors of elementary schools to make these posts inter- 
changeable with the staff of training institutions. 

These suggestions may take a long time for being given effect 
to. As an interim measure, the Government of India have decided 
to establish an Institute of Education in each state. The main 
functions of these Institutes would be to conduct research in the 
problems of elementary education and to produce the literature 
required by officers of the Education Department and elementary 
teachers. They will also conduct programmes of in-service training 
for supervisors of elementary schools and staff of the training 
institutions for elementary teachers. The establishment of these 
Institutes would go a long way in improving standards in training 
institutions for elementary teachers, especially if these programmes 
are combined with the upgrading of qualifications and remunera- 
tions of the staff of training institutions as indicated above. 

Finance : Statistics of the direct expenditure incurred on 

'training schools’ (which mostly prepare teachers for primary 
schools only) are available. The expenditure is classified only 
according to sources. Table 47 shows the number, enrolment 
and total expenditure incurred at present on the training schools 
in each state. 

It will be seen that the largest portion of the expenditure on 
training institutions is provided by government funds. This is as 
it should be because training is essentially a state function. 

The question of the levy of fees in training institutions has 
often been discussed. It will be seen from the above table that 
the income from fees is the highest in Punjab. This was mainly 
due to the fact that most of the teacher training institutions in this 
State were run by private agencies who received scanty grants-in-aid 
and had to maintain themselves with the help of fees. But this 
picture has been totally changed by the recent decision of the State 
to take over all teacher training institutions under the Education 
Department. Next in order come Maharashtra and Gujarat, where 
also fee-income is comparatively large. It must be pointed out, how- 
ever, that the fees of a large number of students in these states are 
paid by Government through a system of reimbursement of fees. 
The overall picture, therefore, is that the fees in training institu- 
tions for elementary teachers make a very small contribution to the 


TABLE 47; TEACHER TRAINING SCHOOLS IN THE DIFFERENT STATES OF INDIA 1960-61 

(Rupees in thousands) 



(Continued on next page) 



TABLE 47: TEACHER TRAINING SCHOOLS IN THE DIFFERENT STATES OF INDIA— 1960-61 (Contd.) 

(Rupees in thousands) 



GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING $71 

total expenditure on them. It is very often recommended that 
no tuition fees should be collected in training institutions for 
elementary teachers, whether government or private. In view of 
the serious shortage of trained teachers in the country, this recom- 
mendation deserves to be accepted and as the foregoing statistics 
will show such acceptance will not result in any serious financial 
embarrassment. 

The role of private enterprise in the training of elementary 
teachers is one of the controversial issues in this sector. In some 
states, as in Assam, no encouragement is given to private enterprise. 
In other states, as in Maharashtra or Madras, private enterprise is 
encouraged and liberally assisted. In view of the significant contri- 
butions which private sector has made to the development of 
education in India and in view of the important role which it is 
still playing in secondary and higher education, it may be desirable 
to associate private enterprise in the training of elementary teachers 
also. It can contribute expertise and bring in the services of 
devoted educationists who would not otherwise come into the 
picture. Private institutions for the training of elementary teachers 
should, therefore, be recognized and assisted provided they main- 
tain a high standard of efficiency. If fees are to be abolished in 
training institutions, the main source of income to these institu- 
tions would be government grants and these would have to 
be given on a very liberal scale. 

The data regarding the expenditure on training institutions 
for elementary teachers, classified by objects, are not available. 
This was specially collected for the first and the last time in the 
survey of training institutions for elementary teachers conducted by 
the Ministry of Education in 1959-60. Its findings have been given 
in Table 48. 

It will be seen from this table that, in the State of Punjab, the 
expenditure incurred on salaries and allowances of staff is the 
maximum and that on stipends to trainees is the minimum. In 
the case of Assam, the position is just the reverse — 21.7 per cent on 
salaries and allowances and 64.7 per cent on stipends. In the 
States of Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, the expenditure on salaries and 
allowances of staff accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total 
expenditure and the expenditure on stipends accounts for less than 



2 72 ELEMENTARY ED 



UCATION IN INDIA 



GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


273 


30 per cent of the total expenditure. In the State of Madras, the 
expenditure on stipends is a little less than 50 per cent. 

The expenditure on libraries and laboratories is hardly signi- 
ficant in any state, the highest percentage being 2.1 in Bihar for 
libraries and 1.8 in West Bengal for laboratories. There is consi- 
derable room for improvement in this respect in all the states. 

In-service Training : So far we have discussed only the 

improvements essential in the programme of pre-service training of 
elementary teachers. It is, however, wrong to assume that mere 
pre-service training, however prolonged and satisfactory, would 
enable the teacher to work efficiently throughout the 30 or 35 years 
of his service and to keep him abreast of the latest developments in 
education. Life as a whole is now changing very fast and educa- 
tion has to keep pace with it. It is, therefore, necessary to organize 
a continuous programme of in-service training for all teachers in 
order to enable them to discharge their responsibilities regarding 
education in a rapidly changing society. Programmes of in-service 
education have now become an integral part of the training 
of teachers in all advanced countries. Similar developments will 
have to take place in India also. 

It would ultimately be necessary to provide in-service training 
to all elementary teachers on a systematic and institutionalised 
basis. The assumption should be that every elementary teacher 
would have to undergo a total of two to three months of in-service 
training in every five years of service. Such training may be 
organized through seminars and workshops, condensed or refresher 
courses, correspondence courses, etc. For this purpose, we may 
either set up new institutions which would provide in-service 
training exclusively or establish separate sections for the programme 
in the existing institutions. If in-service training is to be provided 
for a period of three months in every five years of service, the total 
number of seats to be provided for such training would be equal to 
about four per cent of the total cadre of elementary teachers. 
Ultimately, therefore, we may have to set up one institution solely 
devoted to in-service training in every district, or a section for in- 
service training in almost every training institution for elementary 
teachers. 

As a beginning in this direction, the Government of India have 

18 



*74 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING 


*75 


started a programme for the establishment of extension training 
centres in all training institutions for elementary teachers. During 
1962-63, 30 such centres have been established in different parts of 
the country and their number is proposed to be increased to 60 at 
the end of the Third Five-Year Plan. They function broadly on 
the lines of extension centres which have been established earlier 
in the training colleges for secondary teachers, and develop exten- 
sion programmes in a number of elementary schools through work 
with the teachers. The programme should ultimately be extended 
to cover every training institution ; and in the Fourth Plan, it 
should cover at least 25 per cent of the training institutions. 

Every teacher has to be a student all his life. It should, 
therefore, be our endeavour to provide ample opportunities and 
incentives to elementary teachers to continually improve their 
educational and professional qualifications. At present, no further 
programme of education is open to an elementary teacher who has 
once received his pre-service training of one or two years. This 
stagnation has to be done away with and a situation has to 
be created where a large vista of further education is always open 
to a teacher at all stages of his service. To this end, it should be 
possible to institute a number of specialized courses which would 
enable elementary teachers to study the subjects of instruction or 
the theory and practice of education beyond the point reached in 
the course of pre-service training. These courses may be instituted 
by organizations of the teachers themselves or by the State Institutes 
of Education and instruction in them may be provided either 
through regular courses or through correspondence. The condi- 
tions governing the grant of study leave may be liberalised to 
enable teachers to avail themselves of such courses and those 
who complete them successfully should be eligible for advance 
increments or higher scales of pay or preferential consideration for 
further promotions. 

A very important method of improving the efficiency of 
elementary teachers is to increase the supply of good educational 
literature. The average elementary teacher is not in a position to 
read books in English and he will not be able to grow professionally 
unless good educational literature is made available to him in the 
Indian languages. Unfortunately, beyond a few textbooks written 


for the training institutions, no worth-while literature is available 
in the Indian languages on educational topics. It is, therefore, 
necessary to draw up a programme to produce good educational 
literature in every Indian language. It should consist of reference 
books, books of general education, dealing particularly with sub- 
jects of interest to elementary teachers, books on pedagogical 
subjects including those dealing with methods of teaching in 
elementary schools, periodicals and brochures or pamphlets present- 
ing some of the latest advances in the professional field in so far 
as they are applicable to elementary education. This is a gigantic 
task and will have to be attempted cooperatively by all the agencies 
concerned, the National Council of Educational Research and 
Training, the State Institutes of Education, the university depart- 
ments of education and training colleges, private publishers and 
educationists interested in the problem. 

Wanted — a Special Organization : Since the programme of 
the training of elementary teachers is of fundamental significance 
and since it has to be accorded the highest priority in the Fourth 
Five-Year Plan, it may be desirable to create, as early as possible, 
a special machinery in each state for its planning and implemen- 
tation. The Study Group on the Training of Elementary Teachers 
in India has recommended that every state should establish a State 
Council for Teacher Education consisting of the Director of 
Education, representatives of the university departments of educa- 
tion, representatives of principals of training collegs for secondary 
teachers, representatives of principals and teachers of training insti- 
tutions for elementary teachers and non-official educationists. It 
has suggested that the following may be the functions of such 
Councils : 

(0 To prepare programmes for the development of teacher 
education and supervise their implementation ; 

(2) To set standards for teacher education ; 

(3) To confer recognition on institutions which fulfil the 
requirements prescribed by the Council ; 

. ( 4 ) To prepare the curriculum and syllabus according to 
which the training programmes, both pre-service and in-service, 
should be carried out ; 



2^6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


( 5 ) To conduct examinations and award certificates and 
diplomas ; 

(6) To arrange for the inspection and supervision of the 
training institutions recognized by it ; 

(7) To coordinate the training programmes and collaborate 
with other agencies in the state and outside in the furtherance of 
its objectives. 

The Study Group has also recommended that every state 
should have a special officer (or any other suitable administrative 
machinery) whose whole time responsibility would be to look after 
the programmes of training of elementary teachers. Both these 
recommendations are of very great significance. 

Conclusion : The day when a good teacher was considered 
‘born’ and not ‘made’ are now over. While no one questions the 
fact that some persons are endowed with certain qualities of head 
and heart which make them eminently fitted to become teachers, 
we cannot, in view of the rapid expansion of primary education and 
the large number of teachers required for the introduction of com- 
pulsory attendance, depend upon Nature to provide us good 
teachers. We cannot also expect to secure the services of thousands 
of teachers with a spirit of service and self-sacrifice who will 
be prepared to give their best as teachers and remain content with 
low salaries and unfavourable service conditions. We will have to 
take all possible steps to attract the best persons to the teaching 
profession, give them the best training that we are capable of and 
make them good teachers. The future of education in this country 
depends upon the realization of this fact by those who control the 
educational policies, whether at the Centre or in the states. 


CHAPTER 14 

Remuneration and Service Conditions of Elementary Teachers 

It was shown in the preceding chapter that, if the new 
objectives in elementary education were to be realized, it was 
essential to secure the services of teachers with good innate coim 
petence and adequate general education and to provide them with 
efficient professional training, both pre-service and in-service. This 
can be achieved only if the remuneration and other conditions of 
service offered to elementary teachers are such as to attract and 
retain the best available talent in society. The maintenance 
of standards in elementary education thus gets inextricably bound 
up with the problem of providing adequate remuneration and 
satisfactory service conditions to elementary teachers. One of the 
most significant developments in the educational history of the 
advanced countries has been the rise in the social, academic and 
educational status of the elementary teacher. This has been the 
result of three major trends. The first is the revolution in 
the objectives of elementary education. Early in the nineteenth 
century, elementary education was restricted mainly to the teaching 
of the three R’s and its duration was only about 2 to 4 years. It is 
now co-extensive with a period of compulsory schooling spread over 
8 to 12 years and its objective is to prepare good and useful citizens. 
This transformation created a demand for teachers with higher 
educational qualifications which could be met by the second trend, 
viz., the large expansion of secondary and higher education, which 
created an abundant supply of educated man-power. In the early 
days, persons who had completed the secondary school or received 
a training at the university were so few that they could not have 
been available to work as elementary teachers. Moreover, the 
status of elementary education itself being low, a person educated 
in a secondary school (and more so if he was a university graduate) 
felt it beneath his dignity to teach in an elementary school. But 
as the supply of educated persons began to increase, they were 
forced to accept jobs at lower and lower levels under the inexorable 



*7 8 elementary education in INDIA 

stress of supply and demand. A little over hundred years ago, the 
elementary teacher was a person of very humble attainments ; to- 
day he is, more often than not, a graduate or a person with 
equivalent qualifications. As highly educated persons began to 
work in elementary schools, the social and academic status of the 
elementary teachers began to rise. The third trend was the rise 
in the salaries of elementary teachers. In the early days, the 
elementary school teachers belonged to the class of the poorest paid 
employees. In fact, elementary education was then equivalent to 
the education of the children of the poor through poorly paid 
teachers. As the status of elementary education began to rise and 
as its significance began to be properly appreciated by society, the 
salaries of elementary school teachers began to improve in propor- 
tion. Gradually, differences in the salaries of elementary and 
secondary school teachers either disappeared altogether or were 
reduced to a minimum. Better salaries meant better economic and 
social status for the elementary teachers and made it possible 
to attract abler and better educated persons to the profession. 

It will not be wrong to assume that a similar development 
awaits the status of the Indian elementary school teacher also. In 
so far as the first trend is concerned, elementary education in India 
now covers a period of eight years and its objectives compare 
favourably with those in the advanced countries. As shown in the 
last chapter, the output of matriculates is now large enough to meet 
all the requirements of elementary teachers and even if it is 
decided to recruit graduates as headmasters of big elementary 
schools, there would be no difficulty in securing them. The idea 
that teaching in a primary or middle school is beneath the dignity 
of a graduate stands exploded and even now, there is a fair sprink- 
ling of graduates among elementary school teachers and their 
number is steadily on the increase. The second trend also is thus 
in evidence in India. But it is in respect of the third trend— the 
raising of salaries of elementary teachers — that our policies are 
most open to attack. At the opening of the nineteenth century, 
the elementary teachers working under the indigenous system of 
education were paid in cash and kind and it has been estimated 
that their average annual salary was about Rs. 60. In 1882, the 
Hunter Commission reported that the average salary of elementary 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 279 

school teachers was about Rs. 89 and by the end of the century, it 
had risen to about Rs. 91 only. Owing to the emphasis on 
the improvement of teachers and the rise of prices during the two 
World Wars, the average annual salary of a primary teacher rose to 
Rs. 174 in 1921-22 and to Rs. 387 in 1946-47. During the last 14 
years, there has been a still further increase and the average annual 
salary of a primary teacher is now about Rs. 900. Similarly, the 
average annual salary of a middle school teacher has increased from 
Rs. 393 in 1921-22 to Rs. 561 in 1946-47 and to about Rs. 1,100 in 
1960-61. Unfortunately, a very large part of this increase has to be 
written off on account of the increase in the cost of living. There 
are some who argue that a salary of Rs. 89 in 1881-82 or of Rs. 91 
in 1901-02 was probably better than a salary of Rs. 900 in 1961. 
Although this may not be proved, the fact remains that the rise in 
the real’ remuneration of an elementary teacher during the last 
80 years is small, that it has not kept pace with the growth of his 
responsibilities and the improvement in his qualifications, that the 
elementary teacher of today is one of the poorly paid public servants, 
and that his remuneration is much below that paid to other public 
servants of comparable responsibilities or qualifications. It is this 
unhappy situation that has to be improved without delay. 

Factors Impeding Progress : Why is it that this problem of 

the remuneration of elementary teachers is proving so intractable? 
A variety of factors impede progress in this sector. 

To begin with, it may be pointed out that the total amount 
available for expenditure on elementary education is comparatively 
limited, partly because the total educational expenditure itself is 
low and partly because elementary education gets a meagre alloca- 
tion — about 35 per cent — of the total educational expenditure. On 
the other hand, the number of elementary teachers that are needed 
is increasing very rapidly, partly because the expansion in enrol- 
ment is terrific and partly because the pupil-teacher ratio is almost 
steady at 34: 1. The net result of this situation is that the small 
amount of money available for elementary education has to be 
shared between a very large number of teachers and each teacher 
gets a comparatively small amount as his annual salary. 

The effect of this basic financial fact— a small amount to be 
shared by a large group of teachers — is strengthened by several 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 


2 8o 

incidental circumstances. The elementary teachers have never had 
the good fortune to be treated as full-fledged government servants 
and to receive salaries comparable to those of other government 
servants. In the erstwhile provinces of British India, they were 
mostly employees of local bodies or private agencies and their 
remuneration came to be governed, not by what other government 
servants were getting, but by the low remuneration given to 
the teachers of indigenous elementary schools. In the erstwhile 
princely states, the elementary teachers were mainly government 
servants. But their scales of pay were kept lower than those of 
other government servants and, not infrequently, were even poorer 
than in the British Indian provinces. In all parts of India, there- 
fore, a historical tradition grew up wherein the elementary teachers 
were regarded as different from other ranks of government servants 
and were paid at comparatively low rates. The tradition has 
been so deep-rooted that, even now, it is far from easy to get over it. 

When, in the past, the salaries of elementary teachers came 
to be fixed at rates lower than those for other government servants, 
a number of reasons used to be adduced to justify this differentia- 
tion. It was said that the teacher was a local man, not liable to 
transfer to distant places ; that he often had some other means of 
his own to supplement his salary ; that, like the old Panditji of the 
indigenous school, he got gifts, in cash and kind from his 
pupils and their parents ; that his earnings could be supplemented 
by private tuition or by such extraneous duties entrusted to him as 
looking after the local post-office ; and that he was not under an 
obligation to maintain a dignified standard of living as revenue or 
police officers, for instance, were expected to do. It cannot be 
denied that, till about 1921, these arguments had some force and 
applicability. They are no longer valid at present ; but the depres- 
sing effect they produced on the level of remuneration of elementary 
teachers has still continued to persist. 

If the remuneration of elementary teachers has to increase 
substantially, there are only two ways to achieve the result and 
they would have to be pursued jointly. The first of these is to 
increase the financial allocation to elementary education very 
considerably. This is difficult because, in the existing scarcity of 
resources, education itself gets a low priority vis-a-vis other develop- 


281 

ment departments and within education itself, the priority of 
elementary education vis-a-vis other sectors is also very low. Simi- 
larly? the remuneration of elementary teachers could still be 
increased if a larger pupil-teacher ratio is adopted and the number 
of teachers who would share in the available resources is corres- 
pondingly reduced. But, on educational grounds, there are very 
strong resistances to any increase in pupil-teacher ratios. Conse- 
quently? the basic difficulty that prevents a substantial increase in 
the remuneration of teachers continues to persist. 

Some General Considerations : It is possible to relate the 

remuneration of elementary teachers to a number of significant 
variables with a view to creating a better understanding of 
the problem. 

The emoluments of elementary teachers depend on five 
factors : 

(1) the national dividend ; 

(2) the proportion of the national dividend spent on ele- 
mentary education ; 

(3) the ratio of teacher costs to all other direct costs on 
elementary education ; 

(4) the pupil-teacher ratio ; and 

(5) the rate of expansion. 

It is obvious that the first three of these determine the gross 
amount that is likely to be available for purposes of emoluments 
while the last two determine the number of participants among 
whom this amount has to be distributed. 

Let us assume that the total population of a country is 1,000. 
If the national dividend is the total national income would be 
Rs. 1,000 x. If *p* is the percentage of national income spent on 
elementary education, the total expenditure on elementary educa- 
tion would be Rs. 10 px. (1) 

Let us now calculate the total expenditure on elementary 
education in another way by relating it to the average annual 
salaries of teachers. 

In the total population of 1,000, the number of children in the 
age-group 6-14 would be 20 per cent or 200. 

If T be the pupil-teacher ratio, the number of teachers needed 
would be 200 ft. 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 


If ‘a’ be the average annual salary of a teacher, the total cost 

on this account would be Rs. — °° a . 

t 

To this, we will have to add 10 per cent for old-age provision, 
leave salary, welfare projects, etc. Thus the cost per teacher unit 

works out at Rs. 220 a . 

t 

If this teacher cost is r/ioo of the total direct expenditure on 
elementary education (i.e. if the ratio of teacher costs to all other 
direct costs is r : 100-r), the total direct expenditure on elementary 

education would be Rs. ? 2 * 000 a . 

rt 

To this we must add 10 per cent for indirect expenditure on 
direction, inspection and teacher-training so that the total expen- 
diture on elementary education is Rs. 2 4 > 2QQ a / 2 \ 

rt v 7 

Equating (1) and (2), we have 

, 24,200 a 

10 px~ — 


or a = (*\ 

2,420 pxrt * vo/ 

This shows that the annual average salary that can be paid to 
an elementary teacher will increase directly in proportion to 

(1) percentage of the total national income devoted to elementary 
education or p ; (2) the national dividend itself or x ; (3) the 
number of pupils per teacher or the average pupil-teacher ratio 
t ; and (4) the percentage of teacher costs to the total direct 
expenditure on elementary education or r. It may also be added 
that r is now about 85 and that it will have to be stabilized at about 
70, if the extremely poor conditions of physical plant and amenities 
in our elementary schools are to be improved to some reasonable 
standard. The main variables we can command, therefore, are p ? 
x , and t. 

On the basis of this formula, or its generalised form of 
a~k xpxrt, where the value of the constant k will depend upon the 
assumptions made, the following conclusions can be drawn regarding 
the possibilities of increasing teachers' salaries: 

(1) A rich country (x is very large) can afford to give a higher 
average salary to the teacher, even if p (proportion of national 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 283 

income devoted to elementary education) and t (the pupil-teacher 
ratio) are small. This is the situation in most advanced countries 
at present. 

(2) But if a poor country (x is small) desires to give a high 
average salary to its teachers, it can do so only if p increases, i.e., 
the nation spends more on elementary education and/or t is 
raised by the deliberate adoption of a high pupil-teacher ratio. This 
is what the advanced countries did at an earlier stage of their 
development and this is precisely what certain under-developed 
countries are trying to do in order to achieve the goal of universal 
education. 

(3) If a poor country (x is small) which spends little on 
elementary education (p is also small) also restricts the class-size 
(t is also small), the average salary of teachers will tend to decrease, 
if it simultaneously insists on providing universal education. On 
the other hand, if it decides to spend more on teachers, it will have 
to give up the ideal of universal education. This is precisely the 
dilemma in which India finds herself at the moment. Salaries of 
teachers become the enemies of expansion or the pressures of 
expansion have kept the teachers' salaries low. If the difficulty is 
to be solved without sacrificing either universal education or the 
teacher, the only way is to increase p — the proportion of national 
income devoted to elementary education — or what is equally im- 
portant, to increase t by the adoption of a higher pupil-teacher 
ratio. Since the possibility of increasing p is seriously limited in 
the Indian conditions, the only way to give a higher salary 
to teachers is to adopt a larger pupil-teacher ratio. 

Pupil-Teacher Ratio: Unfortunately, there is a very strong 

resistance in academic circles for the adoption of a larger pupil- 
teacher ratio. At one time, the view of the learned pandits was 
that there should not be more than 30 pupils per teacher and one 
had to lose his caste as an educationist to raise his voice against 
this assumption. The pressure of expansion, combined with limita- 
tions of finance, has changed this opinion considerably and today 
a pupil-teacher ratio of 40 has come to be accepted. But if rapid 
expansion is to be achieved during the next 15 years, and if the 
quality of education is to be improved simultaneously by securing 
a better type of teacher through higher scales of pay, a pupil-teacher 



284 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

ratio of about 45 (or even 50) seems to be the minimum required. 
To the extent a smaller pupil-teacher ratio is adopted, either the 
salaries will remain low or full expansion will not be achieved. The 
main question to consider, therefore, is whether such a pupil- 
teacher ratio would be practicable and whether, if adopted, it 
would not lead to a fall in standards. 

There are two ways in which a higher pupil-teacher ratio can 
be obtained: (1) to adopt devices like the double-shift system, or 

(2) to increase the size of the average class. The opposition to the 
double-shift system comes from almost all quarters. The teachers 
oppose it because it introduces inequalities — the teachers with 
double-shift classes have to work harder without any additional 
remuneration. The parents oppose it on the ground that children 
learn less. The Madras Scheme introduced by Shri C. Rajagopala- 
chari had to be dropped, primarily because of the resistance 
of parents in the rural areas. The educationists oppose it because 
the adoption of the shift-system necessitates the simplification of the 
curriculum. The first of these oppositions can be easily met by 
giving an allowance to teachers who have to handle the double- 
shift classes ; the second can be met by educating public opinion 
on right lines ; and the third is the only serious objection that needs 
examination. In this context, it may be pointed out that, all over 
the world, the time for which children are kept in schools in class I 
(or sometimes classes I and II) is always less than that for the other 
classes. It is a mistake to keep young children at school for as long 
as six hours a day. Three to four hours of instruction is all that 
they need at this stage. Similarly, studies made in some places 
where the double-shift system has been in operation have shown 
that there is no significant difference in the learning of children 
who attend for 3 to 4 hours a day and those who spend 5 to 6 hours 
a day. In fact, if instruction is properly organized, children do not 
suffer in any way under the double-shift system. 

The opposition to the adoption of a larger class-size is equally 
strong. In this context, it appears that ideas of the ‘right’ class- 
size are more based on tradition than on educational research. The 
general principle that it is possible to give more individual atten- 
tion to a child as the class becomes smaller is valid. But what is 
the sanctity of a figure like 30 or 40 for a class? Why not 20 or 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 2 85 

10 ? In fact, why not appoint 5 or 6 teachers for every child? The 
truth of the matter is that the size of the class is not the only consi- 
deration that determines standards. Good educational results have 
been obtained in classes of various sizes, ranging from 10 to 40 or 
even more. The crucial point is not the size of the class, 
but whether the methods of teaching adopted are appropriate to 
the class-size. There are educational methods suitable for small 
classes as well as for big classes and what is needed in each case is 
the adoption of an appropriate method. If proper techniques are 
adopted, it is possible to obtain better results with a larger class 
than is the case when the class-size is small and the techniques are 
unsatisfactory. 

It must also be remembered that the size of the class is more a 
financial than an educational issue. When an educational autho- 
rity has to provide education to a given number of children and 
commands only limited resources for the appointment of teachers, 
the size of the class gets determined on administrative and financial 
grounds, irrespective of the educational theory regarding class-size. 
It is not always possible to make social and financial situations agree 
with educational theories. On the other hand, it is preferable to 
utilize educational theories for devising solutions to problems that 
arise from inescapable social and economic needs. The question 
which an educationist should, therefore, ask is: What methods of 

teaching should be evolved in order to enable the teacher to teach 
in a class of a size which appears inevitable in the given situation? 
Unfortunately, the teaching profession in this country has not intel- 
lectually accepted the large class as an inescapable necessity and it 
is not trained academically to handle it in an efficient manner. Yet 
the average situation in the country is such that six teachers out of 
ten are called upon to face classes of very big sizes varying from 50 
to 100. If we could only accept a large class-size as an economic 
necessity for the next 10 to 15 years, if we can concentrate on the 
evolution of teaching methods suitable for large classes, and if we 
can train our teachers properly in the handling of these methods, 
the educational standards would materially improve in spite of the 
size of classes. 

This problem of the pupil-teacher ratio has been discussed 
at some length because, of all the variables on which the 



*86 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION in INDIA 

remuneration of elementary teacher depends — p, x or t — this is the 
most elastic, and the quickest result can be obtained by adopting a 
larger pupil-teacher ratio. But it is obvious that a multiple attack 
will have to be made on this intractable and chronic ailment to 
achieve a rapid cure. We will have to increase x, the national divi- 
dend, through intensive economic planning. Similarly, we shall have 
to increase p or the proportion of national income devoted to 
elementary education ; and simultaneously, we shall have to in- 
crease t or the pupil-teacher ratio. It is only such a three-pronged 
drive that will enable us to achieve expansion and also to secure 
qualitative improvement through the provision of better teachers. 

Existing Scales of Pay : What are the existing scales of pay of 
elementary teachers in India? It is very difficult to give a complete 
picture of the problem. The scales of pay vary from state to state. 
Even in the same state, they vary according to qualifications — 
trained or untrained graduate, matriculate or non-matriculate, etc. 
They often vary from one category of teachers to another and 
different remuneration is given to teachers under government, local 
bodies and private agencies. They sometimes vary from one local 
body to another, and big municipalities like Bombay or Delhi have 
their own scales of pay. They also depend, to some extent upon 
the type of the school, and a teacher with the same qualifications 
may get one pay in a primary school and another in a middle school. 
Very often the scales of pay for headmasters are different from those 
of assistant masters. However, the data given in Table 49 are the 
latest available regarding the remuneration of matriculate trained 
teachers in the different states. This category of teachers has been 
selected because the present policy is to make matriculation 
the minimum general education required of elementary teachers 
and to make professional training compulsory for all teachers. The 
matriculate trained teacher will thus be the largest group among 
elementary teachers in the near future. 

Data are also available regarding the average annual salaries of 
elementary teachers in the different states for 1959-60 and they have 
been reproduced in Table 50. 

The highest salary of an elementary teacher is in Maharashtra 
(Rs. 1,174.3). Then come Punjab (Rs. 1,134.8), and Kerala 
(Rs. 1,093.7). At the other end of the scale are Orissa (Rs. 496.8), 




288 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


TABLE 50: AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 
TEACHERS IN THE STATES OF INDIA (1959-60) 


State 

Average annual 
salary of primary 
school teacher 
Rs. 

Average annual 
salary of middle 
school teacher 
Rs. 

Andhra Pradesh 

842.8 

1053.8 

Assam 

653.9 

792.6 

Bihar 

641.8 

892.7 

Gujarat 

959.6 

1206.4 

Jammu & Kashmir 

566.4 

1 149.0 

Kerala 

1093.7 

1015.4 

Madhya Pradesh 

876.7 

930.8 

Madras 

809.8 

865.8 

Maharashtra 

1174.3 

1112.3 

Mysore 

1047.0 

1081.2 

Orissa 

496.8 

820.8 

Punjab 

1134.8 

1410.5 

Rajasthan 

846.4 

1126.6 

Uttar Pradesh 

619.0 

847.0 

West Bengal 

775.2 

1072.2 


lowest in Assam (Rs. 792.6). While variations in salaries from 
state to state is not objectionable, one wonders whether there is 
any justification for the wide variation that exists at present. 

A National Scale : Some important problems have been raised 

in this context. The first is the demand of the elementary teachers 
that all regional variations in the scales of pay should be abolished 
and that the Government of India should introduce a uniform 
national scale of pay for all elementary teachers. This does not, 
however, seem to be a practicable proposition. 

The only way to give effect to this recommendation would be 
to make all elementary teachers the employees of the Government 
of India. This will imply the transfer of the entire responsibility 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 2 89 

for elementary education from the states to the Centre. It is not 
possible under the present Constitution and is not even probably 
desirable. So long as the responsibility for elementary education 
vests with the state governments, the salaries of the elementary 
school teachers will have to be fixed, not on an all-India basis, but 
on a state basis and with reference to the local costs of living and 
salaries paid to other categories of employees in the state. The 
variations in the remuneration of teachers from state to state will, 
therefore, continue to exist and there is hardly any valid basis for 
objecting to this variation. This does not, however, necessarily 
imply that there should be extremely large variations in the remu- 
neration of elementary teachers from one state to another. The 
Government of India has been striving, for sometime past, to 
improve the remuneration of elementary teachers. It has sought 
to achieve this objective by suggesting minimum scales of pay to 
be adopted by the state governments and by offering special grant- 
in-aid for improving them. These efforts will also continue in the 
future and they would ultimately lead to two desirable results: 
(1) all the teachers in the country would be provided with a certain 
minimum wage which may be agreed upon on a national basis ; 
and (2) the gaps between the scales of pay adopted by the different 
state governments would tend to become smaller. This is the 
utmost that can be done to meet the demand for a national scale 
of pay for elementary teachers and probably no further attempt at 
unification is also needed. 

The Three Categories : It was pointed out in Chapter 12 

earlier that the elementary teachers in the country came to 
be organized, at a very early date, in three distinct categories on 
the basis of the agency which employed them, i.e., teachers in the 
employment of (1) state governments, (2) local bodies, and 
(3) voluntary organizations. These three categories of elementary 
teachers continue to exist to this day ; and very often, there are 
large differences between them in respect of emoluments, old-age 
provision and status. The teachers in government service are, 
by and large, the best paid and they also receive pensions. The 
teachers in the local body schools often receive lower remuneration 
than those in government schools and the most common form of 
old-age provision made for them is to institute provident funds. The 

*9 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 


* 9 ° 

teachers in the private schools are probably the least paid in 
practice — in spite of their theoretical right to receive the same pay 
as in government or local body schools — and little or no provision 
has been made for their old age. The elementary school teachers 
have, therefore, made a strong demand that these three separate 
categories of teachers should be abolished and that all elementary 
teachers should be made the employees of the state governments. 
In the alternative, they plead that in every state the basic condi- 
tions of remuneration, old-age provision and security of tenure 
should be provided on equal terms to all these three categories of 
teachers. 

It may be admitted that these demands are not unreasonable ; 
and ever since the Second Five-Year Plan, this problem has been 
engaging the attention of the Government of India. For instance, 
the Planning Commission made the following suggestions to the 
state governments as early as in 1955-56: 

As regards conditions of service, the fact that teachers are employed by 
various authorities, such as, state governments, municipalities, district boards 
and private bodies, is an important element in variations in salaries, standards, 
working conditions and prospects of teachers which may be found within the 
same state. It is recommended that each state may consider bringing elemen- 
tary school teachers in the state into its own service in appropriate cadres. 
When the services of teachers are placed at the disposal of local bodies or of 
private institutions according to the cadres to which they belong, their terms 
of appointment would be maintained. This would enable state governments 
to extend to teachers adequate benefits of security, pension, provident fund 
contributions, promotion and opportunities to qualify for higher grades and 
also provide them appropriate amenities.* 

This proposal has been examined by the Ministry of Education 
and the state governments and it is felt that it may not be possible 
to give all elementary teachers the status of employees of the state 
governments. Such a decision will virtually mean that elementary 
education should be administered directly by the state govern- 
ments and that the local bodies would not be associated with it. 
This is not possible because the association of local bodies with the 
administration of elementary schools is a historical tradition in 
several states and it is also their declared policy. Similarly, private 
elementary schools have a constitutional right to exist and for 
historical and economic reasons, they play a very important role 

* Second Five-Year Plan , Chapter XXIII, para 44. 


st 9 1 

in some of the states. The elementary teachers would thus 
always continue to be divided into these three categories — 
teachers in government, in local bodies and in private schools. All 
that can be done, therefore, is to provide equality of remuneration, 
old-age provision and general service conditions to all elementary 
teachers, irrespective of the authority under which they may happen 
to be serving. It is in this direction that the states are moving at 
present. For instance, Madras gives the same scales of pay and 
allowances, makes the same old-age provision for all the teachers 
in local body and private schools which form almost the entire bulk 
of elementary schools in the State. In Rajasthan, the teachers 
working in government and local body schools receive the same 
remuneration and are entitled to the same old-age provision. In 
Kerala, there are no local body schools ; but the teachers in govern- 
ment and private schools have been provided with identical remu- 
neration. Action on similar lines is being attempted in almost all 
the states. 

One major issue in this respect is the equalisation of dearness 
allowance paid to elementary teachers working under government 
and local authority or private schools. At the end of the Second 
Plan, 10 states out of 15 had equalised the dearness allowance pay- 
able to all categories of elementary teachers. But in five states — 
Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — there was 
a fairly large difference in the dearness allowance paid to govern- 
ment teachers on the one hand and to teachers in local body or 
private schools on the other. For instance, in Orissa, the teachers 
working in government schools received dearness allowance of 
Rs. 27.50 per month while those in other schools received a 
dearness allowance of only Rs. 5 per month. In the Third Five-Year 
Plan, efforts have been made to remove this difference and to 
equalise the dearness allowances. Assam, West Bengal and Orissa 
have already done so and the matter is being examined in Uttar 
Pradesh and Bihar. The main difficulty in implementing the 
reform is the very large expenditure involved in the proposal ; but 
it is hoped that some way of getting over the difficulty would soon 
be found. 

Remuneration : What should be the remuneration given to 

elementary teachers? It is very difficult to give a definite answer to 



29 2 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

this question, although it is easy to lay down broad principles and 
to say that it must be such as to attract the best people in the society 
or that it must compare favourably with the remuneration offered to 
other categories of public servants with similar responsibilities and 
qualifications. I he most common demand in the country, however, 
is that the minimum scale of pay of an elementary teacher should 
be fixed at Rs. 100 per month. The maximum is suggested variously 
at Rs. 200, 250 or even 300. By and large, the general opinion 
seems to be that there is enough justification to approximately double 
the existing remuneration of elementary teachers and to raise it 
from its present figure of about Rs. 900 or so to about Rs. 1,800 per 
annum. In other words, the general suggestion is that the average 
monthly remuneration of an elementary teacher should be in- 
creased from about Rs. 75 per month to about Rs. 150 per month. 
The colossal financial implications of this can be easily imagined if 
it is remembered that the total number of elementary teachers at 
present is about 1.5 million and that an increase of even Re. 1 in 
the salary of an elementary teacher per month will require Rs. 18 
million per annum. The total recurring cost involved in the 
proposal would be of the order of Rs. 1,125 million per annum (as 
against the total expenditure of about Rs. 1,200 million incurred 
on elementary education at present). As the number of elementary 
teachers increases — it is expected to rise to about 3 millions by 1975 
— this expenditure would increase in proportion. 

In spite of these great financial difficulties, it is obvious that 
some method would have to be found to increase the remu- 
neration of elementary teachers substantially and to reach the target 
suggested above through a phased programme spread over a few 
years. This is the most basic reform in elementary education and, 
as suggested earlier, we may have to increase our total expenditure 
on elementary education very considerably and simultaneously 
to raise the pupil-teacher ratio as well. 

Old-Age Provision: The problem of old-age provision is as 

significant as that of salaries and allowances. At present, the old- 
age provision made for elementary teachers varies from state 
to state and, even in the same state, from one category of teachers 
to another. Generally, teachers in government schools have the 
best form of old-age provision. No difference is made between 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 293 

them and other employees of government and they usually get 
pension, or pension-cum-gratuity, provident fund (usually non- 
contributory) and, in a few areas like the old Mysore State, insu- 
rance benefits. The teachers in the local authority schools are also 
entitled to some schemes of old-age provision. Some local bodies 
have established pension funds and the elementary teachers 
working under them, therefore, get pension or pension-cum-gratuity. 
The number of such local bodies is, however, very small. The 
commonest system of old-age provision for elementary teachers 
working under local bodies is the institution of provident funds. 
The contribution of the employee is generally fixed at 6^ per cent 
and an equal amount is contributed by the employing authority. 
Some local bodies have fixed the contribution of the employee as 
well as their own at 8f per cent. But these cases also are very few. 
In Uttar Pradesh, the teachers contribute at 6 per cent of their 
salary ; but the contribution of the employing authority is 3 per 
cent only. On the whole, however, it may be said that a teacher 
does not get any big amount, on account of his provident fund, at 
the time of his retirement, especially because the salaries are low 
and were even lower in the past. 

Another important method of old-age provision for teachers of 
local bodies is the institution of the triple-benefit scheme which was 
first introduced by the Madras State. Under this scheme, a teacher 
gets pension at one-fourth of his retiring salary. He is also 
required to contribute to a provident fund at 6 per cent of his salary 
and the employing authority contributes at 3 per cent. In addition, 
he is required to insure himself compulsorily for specified amounts. 
The insurance premia are, however, paid by the teacher himself. 
This system has now been adopted by Andhra Pradesh (excluding 
the provision relating to insurance), and by Bihar. 

It is the teachers working in private schools that have the least 
satisfactory provision for old-age. A very good lead is given by 
Madras where the provision of the triple-benefit scheme has been 
extended to teachers in private schools also. Similar action has 
also been taken by Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. In West 
Bengal, the teachers in private schools get a retiring gratuity of 
Rs. 900, and a provident fund, to which they contribute at 6^ per 
cent of their salary and the State Government an equal amount. 



294 


295 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

has also been instituted for them. In other areas, however, there 
is hardly any old-age provision for the teachers in aided schools. 
Good and well-established institutions generally institute provident 
funds for their teachers. But their number is not very large. 

From the point of view of old-age provision made for ele- 
mentary teachers, the states of India fall into three groups. In the 
first group, we may include states where the old-age provision is 
different for all the three categories of teachers. Uttar Pradesh is 
a good example of this category. Here, the teachers in government 
service get pension and those in the service of the local bodies get 
provident fund while there is hardly any provision for teachers in 
private schools. The second group would include states where 
teachers in government service as well as those in the service 
of local authorities have the same system of old-age provision but 
the teachers in private schools have a different system for the 
purpose. A good example of this is Rajasthan where the old-age 
provision for teachers in government service and in Panchayat 
Samiti schools is identical and no systematic provision is made for 
teachers in private schools. In the third group we may include 
those states where the teachers in government schools stand in a 
class by themselves, and the same old-age provision is made 
for teachers in local body and private schools. Madras and Andhra 
Pradesh are examples of this type. 

In this context, the main demand of the elementary teachers 
is that there should be no differentiation between the old-age 
provision made for the different categories of elementary teachers. 
In other words, they demand that all elementary teachers, irrespec- 
tive of the authority under whom they might be working, should 
be entitled to pension or pension-cum-gratuity on the same basis as 
other government servants. This would of course be an ideal 
solution and this demand would automatically be met if the 
elementary teachers could be given the status of government 
servants. Since this is not possible, the following two alternative 
suggestions may be put forward: 

(1) As in Rajasthan, a common system of old-age provision 
could be made for teachers in government and local body schools. 
Gujarat has already done so and Maharashtra also has instituted a 
pension scheme for its elementary teachers, although its details are 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 

different from those for teachers in government schools. In addi- 
tion, a triple-benefit scheme as in Madras or a compulsory provident 
fund scheme and a gratuity as in West Bengal, could be provided 
f or teachers in private schools. This solution is particularly 
applicable to those states where most of the elementary schools are 
conducted by government and local authorities and the number of 
private schools is very small. 

(2) Where the number of private schools is fairly large, we 
may adopt the Madras or the Andhra Pradesh system and introduce 
a common scheme of old-age provision for teachers in local autho- 
rity and aided schools. In states like Punjab or Kerala where there 
are no local body schools, the private schools may be provided with 
either a triple-benefit scheme as in Kerala or a provident-fund-cum- 
gratuity scheme as in West Bengal. 

One of the major objectives in the Fourth Plan should be to 
create a good scheme of old-age provision for every elementary 
teacher. This would go a long way in creating satisfaction among 
elementary teachers and assist materially in the improvement 
of standards. 

Promotion to Higher Cadres : Another important way to 

make the profession of elementary teachers more attractive is to 
provide adequate scope to elementary teachers for promotion 
to higher cadres. The present position in this respect is unsatis- 
factory. In most states, elementary teachers have no chances of 
promotion unless they become graduates through private study 
and qualify themselves for selection to the higher posts. Very 
few states have a selection grade to which teachers can aspire. 
There are only three states — Madras, Maharashtra and Gujarat 
where they can be promoted as inspecting officers of elementary 
schools. Nowhere is there a provision for their promotion as 
teacher educators. In some states posts of headmasters have a 
better scale of pay or carry an allowance. In such cases, this 
is the only promotion which an elementary teacher can look 
forward to. 

It is felt that this situation has to be improved. Promotions to 
the cadre of inspecting officers and teacher educators should be open 
to competent and experienced elementary teachers ; and a certain 
proportion of these posts should be reserved for them. Such 



2$6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

a provision will make the profession far more attractive than it 
is at present and would induce a much better type of person to 
join it. 

Other Programmes : A number of other programmes have 
been suggested with a view to improving the remuneration of 
elementary school teachers. One of the oldest suggestions in this 
regard is to provide additional work to elementary teachers which 
would give them extra remuneration without adversely affecting 
their legitimate duties. If this can be done, their economic 
condition would be improved without unduly straining the re- 
sources allocated for elementary education. In the earlier days, 
this extra work was found in the Postal Department and several 
village school teachers acted as part-time postmasters in return 
for a small monthly honorarium. Later, attempts were made 
to appoint them as secretaries of co-operative societies or village 
panchayats. But not much headway has been made in this direc- 
tion. The number of part-time postmasters needed in rural areas 
is far too small in comparison with the total number of elementary 
teachers. The trend to appoint village teachers as secretaries of 
co-operative societies or village panchayats is now being discouraged 
because it involves them in local politics and because the work of 
most of these bodies is increasing so rapidly as to need the services 
of whole-time workers. There does not seem, therefore, any great 
possibility of finding additional remunerative work for elementary 
teachers except in two directions: (1) teachers of part-time continua- 
tion classes, particularly night classes ; and (2) teachers of adult 
literacy classes. The first of these programmes is yet to develop. 
But if it is really expanded on the lines broadly discussed earlier 
in Chapter 11, there is no doubt that it will provide additional 
remuneration of Rs. 20 to 30 to a very large number of elementary 
teachers. The second of these programmes is still being operated 
on a very small scale. If this scale were to be expanded, it would 
also provide additional remunerative work to a large number of 
teachers. But the possibilities of this do not appear to be very 
bright at present. 

A suggestion most commonly put forward in this context is 
that free education should be given to the children of elementary 
teachers. It is argued that the one thing about which the 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 297 

elementary school teacher is anxious is to provide good education 
to his children. It is, therefore, felt that if free education is given 
to the children of elementary teachers, the disadvantages of an in- 
adequate remuneration would be greatly overcome. This sugges- 
tion, however, is not being largely accepted. The general opinion 
seems to be that the facilities for free education should be given, 
not only to teachers, but to all classes of society on the basis of some 
general principles. For instance, free education is provided in 
Maharashtra to the children of all persons whose annual income is 
less than Rs. 1,200 and this facility is open to teachers also. It may, 
however, be desirable to pursue the matter and to see that educa- 
tion at the secondary stage at least is provided free to those children 
of elementary teachers who come up to a prescribed minimum 
standard and that scholarships are provided to the more brilliant 
children who obtain more than a prescribed percentage of marks 
at the end of the middle school stage. Since elementary education 
is on the way to be made free to all children, the question 
of providing any special facilities at this stage to the children of 
elementary teachers does not arise. 

In this context, mention may be made of a scheme introduced 
recently by the Ministry of Education under which scholarships 
are given to talented children of elementary and secondary teachers. 
The number of scholarships is small at present, but if this scheme 
is expanded, a major grievance of elementary teachers that they are 
not in a position to give higher education even to their gifted 
children will disappear. 

The question of medical facilities is also often discussed. It 
is suggested that free medical aid should be made available to 
elementary school teachers. Here also the main difficulties are 
two: the facilities of medical aid have not yet been expanded 
adequately in rural areas where most of the elementary teachers 
are working and it may not be possible to give this facility to the 
elementary teachers and deny it to other sections of the community 
who are equally handicapped economically. 

Mention should also be made of the establishment of a 
National Fund for Teachers’ Welfare. The corpus of this fund 
will be raised further through contributions of the Central and 
state governments, but mainly through donations, and the fifth of 



2C)8 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

September each year will be observed as Teachers* Day for collec- 
tion of donations from the public. The interest on the corpus of 
the fund is to be utilized for relief of distress. About Rs. 3 million 
have been collected for the Fund so far. 

Probably a good reform that can be introduced to solve 
several of the problems of the type mentioned above is to institute 
welfare services for elementary teachers. In several advanced 
countries, such welfare services have been instituted on a contri- 
butory basis, the teachers contributing a certain proportion of their 
salary and the employers — government, local bodies or private 
management — contributing an equal amount. The total proceeds 
of the fund are utilized in assisting teachers in case of severe illness, 
disability, education of children, illness in the family etc. If 
welfare services are organized on the basis that the teachers 
contribute about 1^ per cent of their salary and an equal amount 
is contributed by the state, the total amount raised would be about 
Rs. 30 million per year (the total salary bill of elementary teachers 
is estimated at Rs. 1,020 million at present). This can be utilized 
for providing welfare services to teachers on a fairly large scale. 
The executive organization for this purpose may be set up in each 
district as a primary unit and the programmes may be administered 
by a board consisting of the District Educational Officer, some non- 
official educationists and representatives of elementary teachers. 
There might be a state level organization to lay down policy and 
to supervise the work of the district offices. The programmes and 
policies of all the state organizations could be conveniently coordi- 
nated by the Ministry of Education at the national level. It is 
obvious that the institution of welfare services, on the lines 
described above, will bring advantages which are far greater 
in proportion to the small expenditure involved. It will also 
provide a comprehensive, broad and secure foundation to several 
programmes which are at present uncertain and haphazard. The 
possibilities of adopting this programme at an early date, or at least 
in the Fourth Five-Year Plan, should, therefore, be carefully 
explored. 

Service Conditions : Apart from the problems of remunera- 

tion, old-age provision and welfare, care has to be taken to see that 
the conditions of service provided to elementary teachers are as 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 299 

good as possible. In this sector, however, the complaints of the 
teachers are even more numerous. 

Some of the difficulties of the elementary teachers arise from 
physical conditions. For instance, a large number of elementary 
schools are, even now, located in remote areas, which are generally 
difficult of access and as expansion progresses, the number of such 
schools will continuously increase. In such places, the teachers do 
not often get houses to live in ; no medical aid is available within 
a reasonable distance ; the climate is very often bad and even 
drinking water facilities are not always easy ; high schools where 
their children could be educated do not exist ; the population is 
largely illiterate ; and there is no academic atmosphere of the type 
that the teacher would wish for. It is obvious that these conditions 
cannot be changed all too quickly. A programme has recently 
been undertaken to provide quarters for women teachers in 
difficult rural areas and for both men and women teachers in tribal 
areas. Owing to limitations of funds, however, its progress is 
rather slow. The other difficulties are of a type which can be 
removed only when there is a general improvement in the condi- 
tions of these underdeveloped rural areas. Until the situation 
materially improves, however, a method may be devised by which 
all the teachers can share these difficulties. If a system of rotation 
is started under which every teacher is required to put in a 
minimum specified service in such difficult areas, preferably at the 
beginning of his career, and the rule is applied uniformly to all, 
these conditions would be more bearable. Another measure that 
can be considered is to attach extra allowances for posts in these 
areas with a view to compensating, to some extent, for their dis- 
advantages. In the absence of such a clear-cut policy, what happens 
today is that some teachers have to work in these difficult areas for 
years on end while others are never posted to them. This creates 
a feeling of dissatisfaction and leads to charges of corruption 
or favouritism. 

There is another group of difficulties which elementary teachers 
experience and these arise from social conditions. Very often, 
there are factions and rival groups in rural areas. It is not always 
easy to live in such villages and to remain aloof from local politics ; 
and a teacher is often dragged into them in spite of all his desire to 



3 °° 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

the contrary. This involvement in local politics makes life for the 
teacher very difficult and sometimes even risky. Women teachers 
have another group of social problems to face. The educated and 
unmarried woman standing on her own feet and earning her own 
livelihood is not a common spectacle in villages and the social 
atmosphere is often such as to make it almost impossible for 
a young woman to live honourably in them. The educated young 
women are, therefore, extremely unwilling to go to work in 
rural areas unless they are accompanied by older members of their 
family, which is not always possible. These social problems also 
will need a fairly long time to be solved. In the meantime, we can 
only try to do our best by properly orienting the teachers. 

But by far the largest group of problems which the teachers 
have to face are administrative in character and refer to such issues 
as postings, transfers, punishments and promotions. The postings 
and transfers of elementary teachers is one of the most difficult 
problems in the administration of teacher personnel at the elemen- 
tary level. Every teacher generally likes to be in or near his own 
village where he has a house or some land and where he can, by 
reducing the cost of living to some extent, manage his expenses 
within his meagre remuneration. On the other hand, posting him 
in his own place draws him closer into local politics. It also gives 
him an opportunity to pay more attention to his home and land 
than to his work in the school. Besides, the demands are often so 
conflicting that it is not always possible to post a teacher in or near 
his village. Another demand of teachers is that they should 
be posted in bigger villages where high schools exist so that their 
children can get secondary education at least. But not all teachers 
can be so posted and this leads to a scramble for a few coveted posts 
wherein all means, fair and foul, are used. The position, bad as 
it is, becomes at least tolerable where the postings are done by an 
officer of the Education Department who is required to act 
according to certain rules and is called upon to give reasons in 
writing for all the orders he issues. But when these matters are 
left to local bodies or non-official workers, the situation becomes 
very difficult. Teachers are often transferred at the whim of some 
individual or for the purpose of harassment or at the dictates of 
local politics. There have been several cases where a large majority 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 3OI 

of the teachers have been transferred in a given year. There are 
even cases on record where a teacher has been transferred more 
than three or four times a year. One of the persistent demands 
put forward by elementary teachers, therefore, is that transfers and 
postings of elementary teachers should, in no circumstances, be left 
to local bodies and that they should be done by departmental 
officers in accordance with a pre-determined policy. 

This is obviously one of the most complicated problems 
in administration. What is needed is a careful study of the local 
situation to identify postings which are considered desirable, for 
some reason or another, and those which are not so regarded by the 
teachers. The desirable postings should be offered to elementary 
teachers as a reward for good work while the bad postings should 
be shared by all as a necessary evil. Careful plans will have to be 
prepared on the basis of these principles and they should be im- 
plemented justly and uniformly. This is probably the only long- 
range solution of the problem. It needs education of the adminis- 
trative officers, a good deal of research and also re-orientation of 
the teachers themselves. It also means a great restraint on the 
part of local bodies, if these powers happen to be vested in them. 

What has been said about transfers and postings applies, 
mutatis mutandis , to promotions and punishments also. The 
demand of the teachers is that there should be an impartial agency 
— like an independent inspector — to judge the work of teachers 
and to award punishments and promotions. It is the transfer of 
these functions to local bodies or the infiltration of local politics 
into the performance of these functions, through the Panchayat 
Samitis, that has created a series of problems which have yet to be 
solved. When the local body was at the district level, it could inter- 
fere in very few cases, partly because the number of teachers was 
large and partly because it was too distant. With the constitution of 
the Panchayat Samitis at the block level, local influences have begun 
to be felt very greatly and teachers are more unhappy than at any- 
time in the past. Some appropriate safeguards will, therefore, 
have to be devised to see that no injustice is done to teachers even 
when the over-all administration of elementary teachers is trans- 
ferred to local bodies. 

The ultimate test of a good personnel administration at the 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 303 


3 °* 

elementary stage is that each teacher should feel perfectly at home 
in his work, should be able to carry on his programmes with his 
conscience as his guide and the interest of the children at his heart, 
and to feel secure that he would not be disturbed or punished in 
any way so long as he does his duty efficiently. Unfortunately, it 
cannot be said that such conditions have now been created every- 
where. Even when elementary education is administered by the 
Education Departments, much is left to be desired and the situation 
often becomes very serious when elementary education is adminis- 
tered by local bodies. The administration of teacher personnel is, 
therefore, a very important area which has been largely neglected 
so far. The greater the importance and attention given to it in 
future, the better would be the return for the money we invest in 
elementary education, and the higher would be the standards. 

Innate Competence : It is obvious that the quality of teachers 
that we would ordinarily be able to recruit will depend upon the 
remuneration, old-age provision, welfare services and service condi- 
tions that are provided for them. In view of the fact that these 
are far from satisfactory at present, a common observation made 
today is that only the dregs and rejects of all other professions 
become elementary teachers. While there is considerable force in 
this statement, it is an over-simplification of a very complex issue 
and does not, therefore, represent the whole truth. Any one who 
works with elementary teachers comes across, sooner rather than 
later, many first-rate minds which would do honour to any profes- 
sion. Many a competent person joins the profession for several 
reasons — domestic difficulties, financial necessities, inability to 
proceed to further education — and quite a few join it for the best 
reason in the world, that is, they have an aptitude for the work and 
feel a sense of mission in being a teacher for young children. 
It would, therefore, be wrong to condemn the entire class of 
elementary teachers as consisting merely of the rejects from other 
professions. In fact, a closer acquaintance with elementary teachers 
makes one feel, not that there are so few good and able teachers, 
but that there is a far greater proportion of competent elementary 
teachers than what one would expect on the basis of the low remu- 
neration now offered to them. What is needed is a closer study of 
the potential capacities of the existing cadre of elementary teachers. 


If carried out properly and publicized suitably, it will clear 
up many a misunderstanding and lead to a great appreciation of 
the great volume of competence and goodness which this profession 
is able to retain even now, in spite of the depressing condi- 
tions of service. In the same way, a closer examination of the 
motives which lead people to become elementary teachers or of the 
factors that dissuade them from being so, would also be of great 
help. This is indeed a fruitful field for educational research. 

Social Status : The problem of the social status of elementary 
teachers is also of great importance. It was pointed out earlier 
that the teacher in the indigenous elementary school had a very 
high social status, although his remuneration was very low. Today 
the position is greatly changed. The remuneration of the elemen- 
tary school teachers is now much better and standards of his general 
education and professional training have been raised. But he 
has lost the advantages which the indigenous elementary school 
teacher had as a self-employed person working in his own locality. 
He has also lost the high social status which the indigenous 
elementary school teacher enjoyed in spite of his humble attain- 
ments and small remuneration. There have thus been both gains 
and losses and it is difficult to say whether the picture is, on the 
whole, better or worse from the point of view of teachers. 

One definite change that has been brought about during the 
last 60 years may be mentioned. The elementary teachers of to- 
day are drawn from almost all strata of society. In the indigenous 
schools, the teachers were necessarily men and most of them 
belonged to a few selected higher castes which, for generations, had 
followed the profession of learning and teaching! 

This monopoly continued for a fairly long time, even under 
the modern system of education. But as education began to spread 
to the different strata of society, a policy of choosing teachers from 
the class to which the students belonged was gradually adopted. It 
was necessary to do so, partly to break social stratification and partly 
on democratic principles. It also yielded good results because the 
teachers selected from classes to which the pupils belonged gene- 
rally had a natural affection for their students and it more than 
made up for any deficiency they may have had in academic attain- 
ments. On the same principle, teachers belonging to scheduled 



304 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


REMUNERATION AND SERVICE CONDITIONS 


castes and scheduled tribes also began to be recruited, for the 
separate schools for scheduled caste or tribal children in the first 
instance and later on, for the general elementary schools as well. 
Women teachers began to be recruited, partly to enrol girls and 
partly because temperamentally they made better teachers than 
men. Initially, most of the elementary teachers came from urban 
areas. But as education spread to villages, recruitment of persons 
with a rural background began to increase considerably. At 
present, therefore, the total cadre of elementary teachers is fairly 
cosmopolitan in character and consists of men and women, persons 
with rural and urban background and individuals from all religions 
and castes. 

In this context, one important problem is frequently raised. 
At present, a certain proportion of the posts of teachers in public 
elementary schools are reserved for the scheduled castes and 
scheduled tribes, broadly on the basis of the proportion of their 
population to the total population of the state. It is pointed out 
that this minimum reservation of posts leads to the recruitment of 
candidates with sub-standard qualifications and that it has an 
adverse effect upon the quality of elementary education as a whole. 
It is not alleged that the candidates from these communities are 
less able or less suitable as teachers than from the others. But it 
is pointed out that reservations made for them in all cadres 
of government services are so numerous and the proportion 
of educated persons so small, that all the good candidates generally 
go in for better paid jobs and only those with sub-standard qualifi- 
cations become elementary teachers. It is, therefore, suggested that 
there should be no reservation of posts in the cadre of elementary 
teachers (or teachers at any level) for scheduled castes and scheduled 
tribes and that the loss in employment that would thus be caused 
may be compensated, if necessary, by reserving for them a much 
larger proportion of seats than what they would be entitled to, on 
the basis of their population, in other sectors of employment (such 
as clerks or policemen). This view is opposed strongly in several 
quarters and it is pointed out that this reservation of seats is only a 
partial atonement for centuries of neglect and that, as a measure of 
social justice, it will be necessary to continue it, even in the cadres 
of teachers, for several years to come. Whatever the merits of this 


proposal, it will be difficult to implement a decision which is not 
voluntarily agreed to by the leaders of these communities and, at 
the present moment, there appears to be little chance of their 
agreeing to the abolition of reservations in the cadres of teachers, 
even when such abolition is combined with adequate compensatory 
increases in the reservation in other sectors of employment. The 
only practicable way out of the situation appears to be to provide 
better in-service training to any sub-standard teachers that may be 
recruited from these communities and thus to make up, as largely 
as possible, for their initial deficiency in general education or 
professional training. 

What can be done to raise the social status of elementary 
teachers? The most important step in this direction would be to 
improve their remuneration. If they could be accorded a status of 
government servants it would be an additional help. The improve- 
ment in their general education and professional training will also 
assist in raising their academic status in society. Schemes like that 
of the National Teachers’ Awards instituted by the Union Ministry 
of Education will make the public conscious of the need to honour 
the humble elementary teachers. But by and large, the elementary 
teachers will have to carve out their own status in society through 
the quality of work they do in schools and through the service they 
offer to the community in the training of future generations. 


50 



basic education: retrospect 8c prospect 307 


CHAPTER 15 

Basic Education: Retrospect and Prospect 

The main principles of basic education were enunciated by 
Mahatma Gandhi in 1937. Basic education was intended to form 
an integral part of a comprehensive plan of reconstruction which 
he launched to provide the Indian people with a sound basis for 
their all-round progress — physical, mental and moral. He consider- 
ed that at the time there obtained relatively favourable conditions 
for trying out some of his ideas in relation to the improvement of 
various aspects of national life. For, the Government of India Act, 
1935, had granted provincial autonomy and the Indian people had 
voted into power their own representatives in all the provinces of 
British India, seven of these having come under the rule of the 
Congress ministries. 

Conceptual Frame-work of Basic Education 

The principles of basic education derive from Gandhi ji’s overall 
view of human life, both in its individual and collective meanings. 
Thus, basic education, as he conceived it, was to reinforce his con- 
structive programmes in all the spheres of national life. He 
characterized basic education as the spear-head of a silent social 
revolution. And a veritable revolution it might have been! For, 
in the first place, quantitatively, this programme of education was 
intended to become the most widespread movement that the country 
had ever seen, taking every boy and girl — all future citizens of India 
— in its sweep. Secondly, in terms of quality, basic education 
sought to build up the human personality from its very roots 
in a way that would at once be natural and effective — natural 
because it would satisfy the child’s inner urge of creativity by 
providing him with something to create, and effective because it 
would cultivate the proper attitudes, understandings, habits and 
skills necessary to make the child a responsible and productive 
member of society. 


I . Present Position 

In order to make a right policy decision in regard to basic educa- 
tion, it would seem necessary to take stock of the progress it has 
made so far, both quantitatively and qualitatively. 

(a) Quantitative Expansion 

Let us first take the quantitative aspect. Experiments in basic 
education began to be made as early as 1938 i.e. just after the scheme 
of basic national education saw the light of the day. But by and 
large, these experiments were conducted in an isolated manner and 
on a limited scale and could not make any substantial impact on the 
system of education as a whole. Even these earlier small-scale 
experiments were greatly hampered, if not entirely discontinued, 
during the period of the Second World War when most of the 
popular ministries in the British Indian Provinces were out of 
office. It was only after the attainment of independence that basic 
education could be given a serious thought as a system of organized 
public education. Now, more than a decade has passed since basic 
education was accepted, both by the central and the state govern- 
ments, as the national pattern of education at the elementary stage 
i.e. for children of six to fourteen years of age. The First Five-Year 
Plan made a specific allocation for stepping up the programme of 
basic education. Since then, basic education has been receiving a 
certain measure of attention. The results of the effort made in this 
field are indicated in Table 51. 

It is clear from the table that the number of basic schools is 
increasing continuously. But the same cannot be said about the 
proportion of basic schools to the total number of primary and 
middle schools. The percentage of junior basic schools to the total 
number of primary schools declined during the First Plan, from 
1 5*9 to 15.4. It is, however, estimated to have increased to 29.2 at 
the end of the Second Plan, representing an acceleration of 13.8 per 
cent over and above what was achieved in the First Plan. The 
targets laid down in the Third Plan show that the rate of increase 
would be lower than that in the Second Plan. For, during the 
ird Plan, it is proposed to raise the number of junior basic schools 
0 36.9 per cent of the total number of primary schools. The 



3°8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


TABLE 51 : PROGRESS OF BASIC EDUCATION SINCE 1950-51 



1950-51 

1955-56 

1960-61 

(Estimated) 

1965-66 

(Targets) 

1. Junior basic schools 

33,379 

42,971 

1,00,000 

1,53,000 

2. Junior basic schools as percentage 
of the total number of primary 
(including junior basic) schools 

15.9 

15.4 

29.2 

36.9 

3. Senior basic schools . . 

388 

4,842 

11,940 

16,700 

4. Senior basic schools as percentage of 
middle (including senior basic) 
schools 

2.9 

22.3 

30.2 

28.9 

5. Children (in millions) in elementary 
schools (classes I-VIII) including 
those in basic schools 

22.27 

29.46 

40.63 

59.39 

6. Children in elementary schools as 
percentage of the total number of 
children in age-group 6-14 

32.0 

40.0 

48.3 

60.0 

7. Children in basic schools as per- 
centage of the total number of chil- 
dren in classes I-VIII 

13.1 

17.2 

23.3 

Not known 

8. Children in basic schools as per- 
centage of the total number of chil- 
dren in age-group 6-14 

4.1 

6.9 

11.3 

Not known 

9. Basic training schools 

114 

520 

715 

1,424 

10. Basic training schools as percentage 
of the total number of training 
schools 

15 

56 

70 

100 


acceleration would thus be only 7.7 per cent (from 29.2 per cent 
to 36.9 per cent) as against 13.8 per cent during the Second Plan. 
It implies that, during the Third Plan, the rise in the number of 
junior basic schools will be proportionately less than the rise in the 
number of primary schools. The progress attained in establishing 
senior basic schools presents a still darker picture. During the 
First Plan, the increase in the percentage of senior basic schools was 
19.4 (from 2.9 to 22.3). The position became worse during the 
Second Plan, when the increase in percentage was estimated to be 
only 7.9 (from 22.3 to 30.2). What is worse is that the Third Plan 
does not even maintain the position achieved at the end of the 
Second Plan and the percentage of senior basic schools to the total 
number of middle schools would be reduced to 28.9 per cent, 1.3 
per cent less than what it was at the end of the Second Plan. 


BASIC EDUCATION: RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 309 

Now let us consider the progress of basic education in terms of 
the number of children involved. At the beginning of the First Plan 
in 1950, children attending basic schools accounted for only 13.1 
per cent of the total enrolment in grades I-VIII in all types of schools. 
This percentage rose to 17.2 at the end of the First Plan (1955-56) 
and is estimated to have reached 23.3 by the end of the Second 
Plan (1960-61). The data for the Third Five-Year Plan are not 
available. These figures speak for themselves. Basic education was 
intended to become universal. But it could not make any signi- 
ficant progress during the first three Plans. One cannot be satisfied 
with this state of affairs. 

The sense of dissatisfaction becomes all the more acute when 
this progress is compared with that made by elementary education 
during the same period, though the latter in itself is not very 
commendable either. In 1950-51, the enrolment of children in 
grades I-VIII of elementary schools was only 32.0 per cent of the 
total population of children in the age-group 6-14. But the percent- 
age was raised to 40.0 in 1955-56 and further to 48.3 in 1960-61. It 
is expected to reach up to 60.0 in 1965-66. Let us compare this with 
the progress of basic education. The increase in the percentage of 
enrolment in basic schools in the First Five-Year Plan was from 4.1 
to 6.9 i.e. 2.8 only, while the corresponding increase in the case of 
elementary schools was from 32.0 to 40.0 i.e . 8.0. A similar trend 
in favour of elementary education continued during the Second Five- 
Year Plan also. Enrolment in basic schools registered an increase 
of only 4.4 per cent (from 6.9 per cent in 1955-56 to 11.3 per cent in 
1960-61). As against this, the enrolment in elementary schools was 
raised from 40 per cent in 1955-56 to 48.3 per cent in 1960-61 
showing an increase of 8.3 per cent. The obvious conclusion is 
that, during the first two Plans, basic education could not attain 
even that rate of progress which was secured by elementary education 
as a whole, though the latter itself was far from satisfactory. So far 
as the Third Five-Year Plan is concerned, the enrolment target set 
for elementary education is 60 per cent and the corresponding figure 
for basic education is not known. Therefore, no definite conclusion 
can be drawn as to how basic education would fare in terms 
of enrolment during the current Plan. 

There is, however, one aspect of basic education where the 



310 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

quantitative progress made during the period is spectacular indeed. 
Institutions designed to prepare teachers for basic schools have been 
steadily on the increase with the result that, by the end of the Third 
Five-Year Plan, it is expected that all primary teacher training 
institutions will be converted into the basic pattern. This progress 
is remarkable. But in itself it would not mean much, if the quality 
of education imparted in these institutions is not improved in 
accordance with the principles of basic education, and suitable 
conditions of work in schools are not provided for teachers to enable 
them to put their training to practical use. From this point of view, 
one would find the present situation of teacher training far from 
satisfactory. The Report of the First National Seminar on the 
Education of Primary Teachers in India (i960) and the Draft 
Report on Teacher Training prepared by the Committee on Plan 
Projects in 1963 have testified that the teacher training pro- 
grammes suffer, not only from lack of suitable staff, buildings, 
equipment, and other physical facilities, but also from inadequacy 
of curricular content and from ineffective procedures and techniques 
of training. 

To sum up, the trend so far observed in the expansion of basic 
education does not warrant the hope that it will, in fact, become the 
universal system of education at the elementary stage in the near 
future. 

(b) Qualitative Improvement 

As to the quality of education provided in basic schools, it is 
difficult to make a categorical statement for various reasons. 

In the first place, there is hardly anything approaching 
unanimity even today regarding the pattern of basic education in 
concrete terms — a pattern which may lend itself more or less to 
objective evaluation. Leaving aside the socio-economic frame of 
reference that Gandhi ji had in view, his definition of education in 
general and his formulation of the principles of basic education in 
particular, are interpreted in different ways. And when it comes 
to practice, one observes wide divergence and even conflict. For 
instance, the principle of education through productive work means 
to some real production of usable articles, while to others it is just 
another name for the time-honoured play-way method of education. 


basic education: retrospect & prospect 311 

One interpretation goes to the extent of regarding even the act of 
pure reflective thinking as a genuine form of productive work. One 
need not be surprised that the practice based on each of these inter- 
pretations is justified on the ground that it would bring about an 
all-round development of the individual on the one hand, and 
improvement of the society on the other! 

Secondly, no comprehensive research has so far been made to 
assess the qualitative aspect of basic education. There is no scientific 
evidence, therefore, available to warrant any definite conclusion in 
this regard. However, the findings of certain isolated studies throw 
some light on this aspect. The most significant source that one can 
lay one’s hands on is the Report of the Assessment Committee on 
Basic Education which is based on an overall survey of the state of 
basic education as it obtained in the country in 1956. These sources 
indicate clearly that all is not well on the qualitative front, and that 
the education provided in the so-called basic schools leaves much to 
be desired. 

It is evident from the above that neither quantitatively nor 
qualitatively has basic education made much headway. But this is 
not to say that it has made no positive impact on elementary 
education. On the contrary, there is sufficient evidence to show 
that, by and large, programmes of ordinary schools have been 
influenced in one way or another by the concept of basic education ; 
and as a result, certain worthwhile educative activities have been 
introduced in a large number of elementary schools. 

II. Problems and Difficulties 

There are a number of factors which have impeded the progress 
of basic education. 

(a) Financial Provision 

It cannot, for instance, be gainsaid that so far no adequate 
funds have been provided for the purpose. Basic education, 
being a better type of education, would inevitably cost more. 
Once it was thought by a certain section of people that there 
was a way out of the difficulty. A sizeable section of the supporters 
of basic education entertained the hope that, given suitable condi- 



3 


RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 313 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

tions, basic education would, in most part, pay its own way, and 
that there would be left only a bearable demand on the public 
exchequer to meet the cost of running basic schools efficiently. This 
hope, in fact, was created by Gandhi ji himself who insisted that basic 
schools must be self-supporting in the sense that they should be able 
to meet their recurring expenditure to the extent of the teachers' 
salary out of the sale proceeds of articles produced by the school 
children. But the past experience has shown that there is not even 
a remote possibility of basic schools becoming self-supporting. Some 
evidence to substantiate the conclusion is given below. 

The Pires-Lakhani Committee appointed by the Ministry of 
Education, Government of India, made a study of this problem and 
went on record that, during the academic year 1950-51, the highest 
percentage to which any school in Bihar could be self-supporting was 
4i.og ; and that the Sewagram (Wardha) basic school (run under 
the guidance and supervision of the Hindustani Talimi Sangh) with 
its percentage of 63 had the honour of topping the list of successful 
basic schools in so far as the self-supporting aspect was concerned. 
The 100 basic schools that existed in Bihar in 1949-50 (of which only 
18 were senior basic) were self-supporting to the extent of 15 per 
cent. The situation, in general, does not seem to have changed 
much since then. 

Towards the end of the First Plan, the Government of India 
reviewed the progress of basic education and found that it was not 
very satisfactory. The Assessment Committee on Basic Education 
underlined the fact that the self-supporting aspect was particularly 
weak almost everywhere with only a few exceptions. The Concept 
of Basic Education formulated and published by the Government of 
India in 1956 is discreetly silent about the idea of self-sufficiency. 
The percentage of self-sufficiency supposed to have been achieved in 
some states does not give a correct picture, as it is arrived at by 
calculating the value of production in terms of hours of work, wages 
for each hour being fixed at market rates. The production value 
thus calculated is somewhat spurious, as the saleable value of the 
finished products is, in reality, much less. 

Even as great an exponent of Gandhian ideology as Vinobaji 
has now come to the realization that the profit from the sale proceeds 
of goods produced by children should not be used to reduce the 


BASIC EDUCATION: 

expenditure on education, but should go to the parents to enable 
them to send their children to school, and to compensate them for 
the loss of their children's help in their work during the time that 
they spend in school. Vinobaji elaborated this view in the Second 
National Seminar on Basic Education held in January 1958, when 
he categorically stated that expenditure on education up to the age 
of fifteen was the responsibility of the state. He was, therefore, of 
the opinion that the productivity aspect of education should not 
be used as a means of supporting schools. 

There is also the proposal (which the government seems to have 
accepted in principle), that the profit derived from the productive 
work of children should be used for their own benefit by way of 
providing them school uniforms or mid-day meals. 

It may, therefore, be safely concluded that the expenditure on 
basic education cannot be reduced to any appreciable degree by 
introducing productive crafts in schools as envisaged by Gandhiji. 
It implies that unless financial allocations for basic education are 
increased substantially, it will remain only a fond hope that basic 
education would some day become the universal system of education 
at the elementary stage. 

(b) Teaching Personnel 

Basic education needs teachers of a higher calibre in respect 
of their academic background as well as training to enable them to 
do full justice to the rich educational programme of the basic school. 
And what is even more important is that the basic teacher ought to 
have the right attitude towards children and the community. Basic 
education is a great departure from the traditional elementary 
education. Here it is not considered enough to learn only the 3 R’s 
or to memorize certain facts from books about different school 
subjects. On the contrary, basic education is, in principle, an 
education for life and through life, in a democratic setting. As such, 
it seeks to provide an atmosphere where children can grow to their 
fullest stature by participating actively in educational programmes 
involving cooperative effort and shared satisfaction. Here the 
emphasis is on cooperation rather than competition, and on sharing 
rather than possessing. 

Such education makes excessive demands on teachers. They 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


BASIC EDUCATION: RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 315 


3*4 

have not only to possess a good background of general education, but 
should have received such a training as to enable them to educate 
children through experiences of real life situations, of which 
productive work forms an integral part. Moreover, they have to be 
alive to the needs of society and resourceful enough to help children 
grow up into responsible and effective citizens of our developing 
democracy. Judging these demands against the prevailing conditions 
under which our teachers have to work, there seems to be little hope 
of their fulfilment. The teaching profession, in general, does not 
attract talented people because of the low prospects that it holds in 
terms of material advancement and social status. This is particularly 
true of the teacher's job at the basic school level. No wonder then 
that, as late as 1961, the standard of general education required of 
a basic school teacher was not even high school pass in eight out of 
the fifteen states of India and in three out of the five centrally- 
administered areas, and that the period of professional education 
was only one year in most areas! And this condition obtained 
when the output of secondary schools was adequate to ensure a 
regular supply of teachers for all elementary schools. In some 
states, preference is still given to a middle pass candidate over the 
one who holds a high school certificate, because a lower scale of pay 
can justifiably be given to the former. Those who have experience 
of training teachers for basic schools would agree that the one-year 
course is infructuous and ineffective. 

Thus a type of sub-standard education is doled out to the 
prospective teachers of basic schools. Such teachers cannot, there- 
fore, be expected to handle the problems of basic education 
imaginatively and with a reasonable degree of success, especially 
when no arrangement worth the name is made for their in-service 
education. 

(c) Community’s Attitude 

One of the most significant ideas underlying basic education is 
to make the school an integral part of community life. The school 
has been long kept isolated from society to its own detriment. Basic 
education seeks to rectify the situation by transforming the school 
into an institution which should be able to enlist active cooperation 
and support of the people around and to utilize all the available 


community resources for the enrichment and improvement of its 
programmes. 

Looking at the actual position from this point of view, one 
can take little comfort. By and large, people seem to have developed 
an attitude of apathy, if not hostility, towards basic education. This 
may be due to the very nature of the social system prevailing in the 
country rather than to any defect inherent in basic education itself. 
After all, ours is a class-society in which dominant classes by 
tradition want to keep themselves aloof from all kinds of productive 
wo rk — a factor which is regarded as the very life-breath of basic 
education. The loaves and fishes of high office and economic and 
social status are the preserve of that class of people who have never 
soiled their hands with manual labour. And to make matters 
worse. Government policy regarding recruitment to positions of 
prestige and power still puts a premium on the academic content 
of education. 

Political democracy having been established in the country, it 
has raised the level of aspiration even among those classes of people 
who have so far been struggling hard to win their bread literally by 
the sweat of their brow, and who have never had the opportunity of 
schooling. Now they too want to have a place in the sun, and quite 
justifiably so. They see that the road to success lies through the 
literary type of education rather than basic education. Their 
advocates have already succeeded at certain places in getting 
substantial modifications effected in respect of the productive work 
to be introduced in basic schools. The experience of Delhi schools 
is a case in point. The Delhi Administration took a policy decision 
around 1950 to convert all its schools located in the rural areas into 
the basic pattern and to establish all the new schools to be opened 
in the villages as basic schools. About five years later, when all the 
rural schools had already become of the basic type, the policy had 
to be revised on account of the public pressure brought to bear upon 
the authorities. It was argued that only the village children were 
treated with the fare of basic education, while the city children 
continued to receive academic education which was supposed to give 
the latter an advantage over the former in the matter of receiving 
higher education, and subsequently in the race of personal advance- 
ment. Incidentally this argument was supported by the fact that 



3 1 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


very few children who had completed their education in a senior 
basic school and sought admission into a higher secondary school 
succeeded in getting themselves admitted. The Mohsin Report 
which had shown that the academic attainment of the basic school 
children in Bihar was lower than that of the children belonging to 
the traditional schools was also quoted as a testimony. 

Under the circumstances, one should not be surprised that 
basic education had not become as popular as it ought to have 
according to the expectations of its exponents. 

(d) Role of Administration 

One may not be as categorical as was the Assessment Committee 
on Basic Education, when it observed, ‘Give us good administration 
and we shall give you good basic education’. But there is no 
denying the fact that administration is a very important factor in 
making any scheme a success. There is sufficient evidence to 
indicate that the progress of basic education has been greatly handi- 
capped by the shortcomings of administration. Sometimes it is 
found that those who are in charge of basic education either do not 
have a correct understanding of it, or they are not imaginative 
enough to tackle the unfamiliar problems that arise in the field, or 
occasionally one may even come across cases showing unsympathetic 
attitude towards the cause. 

There are a host of administrative problems ranging from the 
opening of a basic school up to the coordination of basic education 
with higher education. And each of these problems may create a 
bottle-neck if not tackled with care, and in time. For instance, it 
is a common observation that basic schools are supplied with ridi- 
culously inadequate quantities of raw material and equipment 
needed for productive work. Similarly, there is no efficient and 
practicable procedure evolved for the disposal of produce. Such a 
condition is certainly not conducive to the growth of basic education. 

(e) State of Research 

Another drawback in the development of basic education is 
the neglect shown in investigating its problems in a scientific 
manner without which it is not possible to find out solutions. Faith 
alone is not a very reliable support for the success of a project like 


basic education: retrospect & prospect 317 


basic education which is designed to operate on a mass scale. There 
has been very little effort in evidence so far in this crucial sector, 
although the need for constant research and investigation into 
various problems and aspects of basic education was visualized from 
its very inception. The Zakir Husain Committee which drew up 
the original scheme of basic education in 1938 recommended 
that each province should establish a Board of Education whose 
functions should include organization and conduct of research in 
basic education. 

The situation obtaining at present in the field of research in 
basic education is far from satisfactory. Leaving aside the period 
of nine years before independence during which basic education 
was tried only on an extremely limited scale, and that too, in a 
few isolated schools in certain provinces of India, even after 
independence, when the government had accepted basic education 
as the national system of education, no organized effort has been 
made in the field of research in basic education. Of course, there 
are Boards of Education in certain provinces now called states, but 
none seems to pay much attention to the specific work of research 
in basic education, nor are there any other institutions carrying 
on such work. The Assessment Committee on Basic Education 
observed in 1956 that there was practically no research being done 
in the basic training institutions. This dark picture is not much 
illumined by the work done under the auspices of other institu- 
tions of higher learning in this particular field. 

Some of the main difficulties and problems which are respon- 
sible for the slow progress of basic education have been outlined 
above. Now let us consider as to how they can be faced squarely, 
and suggest a realistic programme of action for the future, 
particularly during the Fourth and Fifth Five-Year Plans. 

III. Future Programme of Action 

It has been emphasized time and again by the advocates of 
basic education that all education at the elementary stage must be 
transformed into the basic type as early as possible. But the 
question is how early it can be done. This will depend on a number 
of things, the most crucial being the provision of necessary funds. 



3 i8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


Here one is faced with the ticklish question of priorities. India is 
committed to the establishment of a socialist pattern of society. 
One of the essentials of such a society is that all its members must 
be sufficiently educated so as to contribute their best to the common 
weal and to share the fruits of their collective effort equitably and 
judiciously. In view of this, it becomes the first priority to provide 
for free, compulsory and universal education within the shortest 
possible period. Its urgency becomes all the more pressing in view 
of the directive principle of state policy as specified in Article 45 
of the Constitution of our country, according to which free and 
compulsory education ought to have been provided to all children 
up to the age of 14 years by i960. This is a colossal problem 
indeed ; and huge funds and an army of teachers are needed to 
meet it. 

If all goes well with the resources allocated for elementary 
education in the Third Five-Year Plan, about 60 million children in 
the age group of 6-14 years are expected to be brought into schools 
by 1965-66. But this number would form only 60 per cent of the 
total population of children in that group. It is estimated that, 
by the end of the Fifth Plan (1975-76), the total number of children 
in the group would increase to about 120 million. So even when 
the period for the implementation of the constitutional directive 
mentioned above is extended to as late a date as 1975-76* the nation 
shall have to provide elementary education to 60 million additional 
children within a period of 10 years from 1965-66. In order to 
accomplish this task, a number of assumptions have to be made 
good. First, the national income ought to increase about two-and- 
a-half times during a period of 15 years as stipulated (from 
Rs. 145,000 million in 1960-61 to Rs. 340,000 million in 1975-76). 
Secondly, the investment in education should be raised from 
2.2 per cent of the national income in 1960-61 to 4 per cent by 
1 975 " 76 * Thirdly, one half of the total investment in education 

i.e. 2.2 per cent of the national income should be allotted to 
elementary education alone. These are the most favourable condi- 
tions that can possibly be expected to operate in a developing 
economy like ours which has to pay attention to all sectors of 
national life. There are also some other conditions, e.g. increasing 
the pupil-teacher ratio, introducing the double shift system (at 


basic education: retrospect Sc prospect 319 

least in the first two grades), etc., that must be observed in order to 
achieve the target of cent per cent enrolment of children in the 
age-group 6-14 by 1975-76. 

Now, if basic education is to be provided for all children, it 
will take much longer to attain the stage of universal education, 
for, basic education being of a better quality, is costlier, as is clear 
from the recommendations made by the Sub-Committee of the 
National Board of Basic Education in its report (1963) regarding 
the minimum conditions for the conversion of an ordinary school 
into a basic school. In the opinion of the Sub-Committee a basic 
school should make proper provision for at least one basic craft and 
one or more allied subsidiary crafts, and have an adequate and 
regular supply of necessary raw material and craft equipment. 

The Sub-Committee has laid down the following as the 
minimum conditions for a basic school: 

1. It should provide for an integrated course of seven or eight 
years of basic education (junior basic schools of four or five grades 
should necessarily be feeders to a senior basic school in the vicinity). 

2. All teachers should have received basic training. 

3. There should be proper provision (i.e. at least one basic 
craft and one or more allied subsidiary crafts) for the organization 
of some suitable and socially useful productive craft as an integral 
part of the educational programme. 

4. Adequate quantities of needed raw materials and craft 
equipment should be supplied in time. 

In this context, the following points may be kept in view: 

(a) Arrangements should be available for repair of equipment from time to time. 

(b) The initial cost of craft equipment may be kept at Rs. 250 per class of 
about 30 students. Provision should be made for an additional amount of 
Rs. 100 per class per year as revolving capital under this item. 

(c) The cost may vary from state to state and craft to craft. We may generally 
take it that the first two years will have only activities and not systematic craft 
work. Calculating on the basis of the remaining six grades, the initial cost of 
equipment thus works out to Rs. 1,500 per senior basic school plus Rs. 600 
as revolving capital. The revolving capital is to be used for the purchase of raw 
materials. 

(d) At this point we are not mentioning what the income might be during the 
eight years of the full course, because whatever is produced should go to meet 
at least a part of the expense of school uniforms and noon meals. 

(e) Where, in a senior basic school, agriculture is the main and basic craft, 
there should be at least five acres of irrigated land. In the case of schools 



3 *° 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


basic education: RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 321 


with crafts other than agriculture, there should be a small workshop attached 
to the school. It would be desirable, in the case of all basic schools, to have 
a minimum of half to one acre for kitchen and flower gardening. 

(/) Serious attempts should be made to get land free from the village commu- 
nity ; where absolutely necessary part at least of the land will have to be 
purchased. It is not possible to compute the cost of this, as it will vary from 
place to place. However, a provision for Rs. 2,000 per senior basic school may 
be made for land. The workshop in a non-agriculture basic school (or generally 
a small workshop in urban areas) should also not cost more than Rs. 2,000. 

(g) Care should be taken to see that the basic craft is not truncated. It should 
cover the whole process from raw materials to the finished product. Without 
this, there will be no sense of pride and happiness in productive work nor any 
real educational value attached to it. 

5. There should be community living and community work 
based on democratic student self-government under the guidance 
of teachers. (This will mean responsible student participation in 
the educational programme). 

6. There should be a sustained and systematic attempt 
at linking teaching in the classroom with the experiences of 
children in productive work and in their study of the natural and 
social environments. (This would essentially mean that experiences 
in extension are used in the process of learning.) 

7. Congregational prayers on a non-denominational basis 
should become a part of the community life. 

8. There should be a small library of suitable books for 
which an initial provision of Rs. 500 may be made with an 
additional annual provision of Rs. 50. 

9. The organization of cultural and recreational activities 
should also become a part of the community life. A minimum 
annual expenditure of Rs. 60 may be necessary for this programme. 

Let us suppose that all schools are to be converted into basic 
schools by the end of the Fifth Five-Year Plan. Calculating at the 
above rate, the additional expenditure to be incurred on account 
of craft equipment and raw material alone would be of the order 
of Rs. 2.400 million. Keeping in view the trend as observed in 
the pattern of expenditure on education during the three Plans, 
it does not seem to be within the realm of possibility that basic 
education would attain the position of universality in India even by 
1 975"7®- this is not to suggest that there is no hope for the 

development of basic education, and that it should be given up as 


a lost cause. What is really needed is to vitalize the programme 
of basic education both quantitatively and qualitatively, keeping 
in view, of course, the realities of the situation. A perspective plan 
ought to be drawn up showing how basic education can develop 
gradually so that it may establish itself ultimately as an improved 
system of elementary education on a nation-wide scale. 

(a) Improvement of Basic Schools 

A number of existing basic schools have, in fact, very little to 
do with basic education. They are basic just in name. The 
educational programme followed by them is as good or as bad as 
in any other traditional school. Immediate steps need be taken 
to develop them as genuine basic schools by fulfilling the minimum 
essential conditions as indicated earlier. 

There are quite a few basic schools where a serious attempt 
has been made to implement the principles of basic education ; 
but for one reason or another, they are not as yet up to the mark. 
In such places, all the available provisions must be used to the 
fullest extent possible to make up the deficiency. It may well be 
that with better administrative arrangements, these basic schools 
can be improved without any significant increase in cost. 

(b) Expansion of Basic Schools 

Apart from carrying on a regular programme for the improve- 
ment of the existing basic schools, it should be possible for all the 
state governments to expand basic education continuously in a 
certain measure by converting the ordinary schools into the basic 
type as well as by opening new basic schools. It is suggested that 
even under the present financial stringency a majority of the state 
governments should be able to convert at least 5 per cent of ordinary 
schools into basic schools every year. 

One of the most crucial problems met with in the programme 
of expansion of basic education concerns the provision of craft in 
the school. Craft occupies the central position in the basic curri- 
culum. Though it has been frequently clarified that nothing is 
sacrosanct about any particular craft, all manner of criticism is still 
made in this regard. Perhaps it is due to the fact that, in practice, 
certain crafts like spinning and weaving occupy the pride of place 

2i 



322 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

in most basic schools, irrespective of their suitability for the schools 
concerned. There are only two accepted criteria for adoption of 
a craft in a given school. First, the craft should be rich from the 
view-point of its educational potentiality. This implies that the 
processes of the craft should open up new avenues for meaningful 
experiences which would constitute the subject matter of education. 
Secondly, the craft should have its roots in the social environment 
of the child. This would ensure its practicability and utility. 
It follows from this that crafts in different areas may vary widely. 
For this very reason, crafts in urban and rural areas cannot be 
the same. 

In relation to craft, one question needs special consideration. 
At what stage should the craft be introduced both from the point 
of view of productivity and economy in expenditure? Experience 
has shown that there is very little production and a great deal of 
wastage of the raw material in the lower grades of a basic school, 
where the number of children is usually large, and immaturity of 
their limbs precludes any real production. It is, therefore, suggested 
that introduction of craft as such may be postponed till a later stage, 
when children become mature enough to practise it advantageously. 
As stated earlier, the Sub-Committee of the National Board of 
Education is of the opinion that the first two grades may have only 
activities and not systematic craft work. Activities like clay 
modelling, elementary kitchen gardening or some inexpensive 
handwork may be introduced in the lower grades. It is expected 
that the opportunities so provided will prove helpful in developing 
manual skills and releasing the creative impulses of children. They 
will thus be better prepared to do craft work later. The basic 
curriculum needs to be modified in this light. In certain places 
this is already being done. For instance, the new revised syllabus 
prescribed for basic schools in the Maharashtra State does not lay 
down any targets of craft work for the first two grades. Children 
in these grades are expected to do some handwork which includes 
clay modelling, gardening, paper work, etc. It is suggested that 
children of grades I and II may be drafted as apprentices to children 
of the upper grades. There are some people who would favour the 
extension of this apprenticeship period to 3 or 4 years i.e. up to the 
fourth grade. 


basic education: retrospect & prospect 323 

The sense of urgency to provide free and compulsory education 
to all children in the 6-14 age-group on the one hand, and the 
awareness of the inadequacy of resources on the other, have led 
certain knowledgeable persons to suggest that for the time being it 
is advisable to be content with some sort of inexpensive handwork 
even up to the fifth grade and to have a regular craft only in the 
upper three grades of the basic school. The suggestion deserves 
serious consideration. It commends itself on the ground that 
children in the upper grades being more mature and responsible, 
can be expected to produce more and waste less, and that the 
provision of financial resources required to equip basic schools with 
the necessary craft material and equipment is more likely to be a 
practicable proposition, because comparatively a much smaller 
number of children will be involved in this case. 

In order that the craft work may be done efficiently, it is 
necessary to make adequate arrangements for the supply of raw 
materials and craft equipment at the proper time and in the 
requisite quantity. It has not often been found workable to get 
this done through a centralized organization like the Education 
Department of a state. It becomes all the more difficult for such 
an organization to dispose of the articles produced in basic schools. 
This should be regarded more as a matter for local initiative and 
consumption. Here help may be taken of agencies like the All- 
India Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Government 
Stationery Depots, or even the normal local shopping and marketing 
agencies. Similarly, the responsibility for repair and maintenance 
of equipment may be assigned to the schools themselves and for 
this purpose necessary funds should be provided and placed at the 
disposal of the headmasters. 

(c) Orientation Programme 

As shown earlier, it would take a long time to establish the 
basic system of education as the only pattern at the elementary 
stage. It is, therefore, essential to devise ways and means to bring 
about such changes in the existing elementary schools, as might 
pave the way for their complete change-over to the basic pattern 
at a later date, when, necessary resources could be made available 
for the purpose. The changes to be introduced immediately must. 



324 


elementary education 


IN INDIA 


m the nature of things, be such as would not entail expenditure 
beyond the present allocations made for elementary education. It 
implies that only those activities of basic education which are 
inexpensive should be initiated in the ordinary elementary schools 
at once. But this is not to say that no additional amount would 
be needed at all to run the new programme. This would certainly 
require some financial resources ; but these would be of a magnitude 
that could easily be met by making necessary adjustments in the 
normal budget for education. 

If these activities are to help in orienting elementary schools 
towards the basic pattern, certain conditions must be fulfilled. 
First, these activities have to be integrated in the school curriculum, 
so that they may contribute to the aims of basic education. They 
should not be treated as mere extra-curricular activities unrelated 
to the main work of the school. These activities should be 
conducted in the real spirit of basic education. Second, there 
must be a proper evaluation of the outcome of these activities to 
see what impact they have made on the child, and how he has 
become a better person both as an individual and as a member of 
his community as a result of this programme. 

These requirements can be met only when the teaching and 
administrative personnel are so prepared professionally as to enable 
them to shoulder the specific responsibilities of the orientation 
programme. The teachers and administrators of elementary schools 
should not only have the skill to organize the activities, but also an 
insight into the objectives which these activities are intended to 
serve. 

As to the activities to be introduced in the elementary schools, 
they may be of various kinds. There are certain activities which 
are suitable for all schools, such as health activities, social service, 
cultural activities, etc., while there are others which may suit only 
certain schools. For instance, a school having a sizeable piece of 
land with irrigation facilities may practise flower and vegetable 
gardening. What particular activities a given school should have 
would obviously depend on the availability of the material resources 
needed and the nature and strength of the school staff. 

Whatever activities a school selects for itself, it is essential that 
they should be properly planned, executed and evaluated ; and 


basic education: retrospect & prospect 325 

what is even more important, they must be fully utilized as media 
of education. 

It is also suggested that the syllabus of various academic 
subjects prescribed for basic schools should be introduced forthwith 
in all elementary schools. The diversity existing in this matter 
has already proved detrimental to the best interests of basic 
education. Interested parties in certain places have opposed basic 
education in the name of academic standards ; and there seems to 
be a tendency towards making the subject matter of the basic 
syllabus heavier in response to the subject-centred curriculum of 
the high school. Thus, the emphasis laid on the life-centred 
curriculum in basic education may be virtually shifted to the 
subject matter. This shift is fraught with dangerous consequences, 
inasmuch as it would eliminate the progressive element of basic 
education. It is, therefore, essential that while devising an inte- 
grated syllabus to be followed both by basic and non-basic schools, 
the guiding principle must be its relevance to the life of the 
community and experiences of the child. Quite a few states have 
already framed such a syllabus and enforced it. The others are 
expected to do so by the end of the current Plan. 

The orientation programme indicated above can, however, be 
implemented only by such teachers and educational administrators 
as understand its implications thoroughly. This would necessitate 
organizing short courses or seminars for them. Some suitable 
system has to be evolved for this. It is suggested that a mobile 
training squad be set up to give short orientation courses at places 
convenient for teachers of a particular area. The district super- 
visory staff should preferably undergo an intensive orientation 
course in basic education for two to four weeks. Such courses may 
be organized by Post-Graduate Basic Training Colleges during the 
long vacations at the instance of the State Department of Education 
concerned. 

The orientation programme is expected to be completed 
during the period of the current Plan. If executed rightly, this 
programme will serve a two-fold purpose, namely, improving 
elementary education as a whole, and laying a sound foundation 
for future conversion of all elementary schools into the basic type. 
A sum of Rs. 20 million is allocated for this in the Plan. This is 



326 


RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 327 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

regarded sufficient for the purpose. If this programme materializes 
fully, India will have, by the end of the Third Five-Year Plan, two 
main types of schools at the elementary stage: (1) those which are 

oriented toward the basic pattern, and (2) those which are wholly 
basic. 

(d) Curriculum 

The main objective of basic education is to train children for 
citizenship in the democratic society that India has adopted for 
herself as an ideal. In the words of the Zakir Husain Committee 
on Basic Education, In modern India citizenship is destined to 
become increasingly democratic in the social, political, economic 
and cultural life of the country. The new generation must at least 
have an opportunity of understanding its own problems and rights 
and obligations/ The basic school curriculum must, therefore, 
seek to establish an adequate background for such an understanding. 
Besides, it must provide for those elements of knowledge, skills and 
attitudes which are deemed essential for democratic living. 

In basic education, the emphasis is not so much on mastery 
over subject matter, as on acquisition of equipment necessary for 
day-to-day living. The curriculum of basic schools should, there- 
fore, be determined by those needs of life which are common to 
all citizens. It would, for this reason, be a wrong procedure to 
overload the basic curriculum with the subject matter which 
is required only for further studies. 

But it does not mean that the basic curriculum should be 
inferior in academic content, and would not serve as a sure 
foundation upon which to build the next storey of education. 

The children who would go in for higher education after 
passing out of the basic school, would already have acquired an 
adequate background of knowledge, skills, understandings, etc., to 
cope with the academic material in the high school because of their 
greater mental maturity at that stage. 

In order to develop the basic curriculum we should start by 
drawing up a list of activities — productive, creative, social, cultural, 
physical, etc. — in which children are naturally interested. Then, 
with regard to each activity investigation should be made as to what 
particular learning experiences it would lead to. These learning 


BASIC EDUCATION: 

experiences should progressively be developed to such an extent 
that they may meet the common needs of the people’s life in 
a democratic society. These needs, of course, have to be identified 
as precisely as possible through research and investigation. They 
would determine the scope of learning experiences necessary for 
the training for citizenship in its various aspects. Ultimately, the 
learning experiences that constitute the basic curriculum are to be 
graded in relation to maturity of children from year to year. This, 
too, needs research and experimentation. 

(e) Technique of Correlation 

Correlation is generally regarded as the greatest hurdle in 
basic education. The serious-minded academician objects to the 
very idea of correlation. For, he believes that this disturbs the 
logical order of the subject matter, that knowledge thus acquired is 
incoherent and patchy, that learning does not lead to acquisition of 
any disciplinary value of a permanent character, and so on. The 
light-hearted critic concentrates his fire at practical examples of 
correlation. He picks up the ridiculous ones from actual classroom 
practice — and there is no dearth of such examples — and thereby 
tries to show that the technique is faulty in itself. The short- 
sighted enthusiast advocates that correlation is the key to all 
educative experience, and that nothing can be effectively taught 
or learnt without making use of this technique. In such a state of 
affairs, the ordinary teacher is naturally bewildered ; and in so far 
as the technique of correlation is concerned, he tends either to give 
it up as a hopeless job or tries to over-simplify it and claims anything 
that he does as correlated teaching. 

But understood rightly, correlated teaching should seek to 
inter-relate the experiences that a learner acquires. Experiences thus 
gained become more meaningful. They are, therefore, functional 
and lasting. Isolated bits of information are not only hard to learn 
but very difficult to retain for a long time and still more difficult to 
use ; for, their significance is not fully understood by the learner, 
But, if the inter-relationships of the facts learnt are made clear to 
the learner, he grasps them more quickly and can retain them 
longer ; and what is more important he can put them to use as and 
when needed. 



328 elementary EDUCATION IN INDIA 

The first pre-requisite of correlated teaching is that children 
must be engaged in some worthwhile activity. Activities may be 
varied. An activity may be productive like spinning and weaving, 
woodwork, etc. It may be social like cleaning the classroom, 
school and its surroundings, arranging a picnic party, excursion or 
a field trip. It may be cultural as celebrating national days, 
staging plays, or organizing music and dance performances, etc. Or 
the activity may concern health and physical development like 
participating in games and sports, intramural contests and tourna- 
ments, organizing campaigns to fight out epidemics like malaria, 
cholera, or arranging for drinking water and mid-day meals, etc. 

What may be regarded as the most important thing in carrying 
on any activity is that it must be exploited to the maximum for 
educational ends. That is, it must stimulate thinking and learning 
on the part of children. In order to achieve this objective, it is 
essential that in the first place, children must feel a need for this ; 
secondly, they should be guided and helped to plan it in its 
minutest details ; and thirdly, they should try to execute the plan 
as far as possible. If at this stage it is felt that in order to accom- 
plish the activity the plan needs some modification, it should be 
effected accordingly. The fourth and the last stage of the activity 
should consist in making an assessment of the whole procedure in 
terms of its adequacy for the end in view. Unless all these four 
stages are consciously gone through, the activity cannot be expected 
to yield the desired result. An activity performed mechanically 
loses its educational purpose ; and it is not good even for correlated 
teaching. 

One thing that should always be kept in view while selecting 
an activity is the maturity level of children. An activity may have 
immense educational possibilities, but it may be beyond the scope 
of children of a particular age-group to do justice to it. In that 
case the activity is likely to frustrate rather than to stimulate them. 

A second requirement of successful correlation is that the 
information or correlated knowledge needed to carry on the activity 
must be integrally related to it and supplied at the appropriate 
moment, i.e. when the need for it arises. As to the lessons that 
follow a given activity, they too must emerge naturally out 
of the activity itself. For instance, while ginning cotton, if 


basic education: retrospect 8c prospect 329 

the children find some moth-eaten seeds, the teacher may appro- 
priately introduce the topic Life-history of the Cotton Moth. It 
would be correlated teaching in the right sense. 

Another essential of correlated teaching is that the material to 
be correlated with an activity must be well-graded. It is common 
experience that almost the same subject matter is covered by 
children of various grades in the basic school over and over again 
irrespective of their mental maturity and the state of their previous 
experiences. This tends to make the whole educative process 
unsystematic and chaotic, and consequently lowers the standard of 
education in the basic school. 

The situation pointed out above has stemmed mainly from the 
assumption that every teacher is competent enough to apply the 
principle of correlated teaching in relation to an activity, and to 
select the appropriate material for his day-to-day work. But what 
actually obtains belies the assumption. It is rather a difficult task 
to grade the material that can be correlated with various processes 
of a given craft or with any other activity in terms of its suitability 
for children of a particular age-group. This calls for imagination, 
wide knowledge and experience. What is to be done then? The 
teacher needs definite guidance as to what material would be 
appropriate for a certain grade in relation to a particular craft 
process or a given activity. 

Here one important thing may be taken note of. It has been 
found easier to apply the technique of correlation as discussed 
above in the lower grades of the basic school. Up to the fifth grade 
it works out well ; for, the academic content of the prescribed 
syllabus generally admits of a great measure of flexibility in 
its treatment. The situation changes somewhat in the upper three 
grades, where a more systematic organization of the subject matter 
is considered necessary. But even here the process of learning can 
be made meaningful and effective by connecting the subject matter 
with the other related experiences of children. 

The problem of correlated teaching has only been tinkered 
with so far. We have been talking about it in a general way, as if 
any material connected with a centre of correlation were suitable 
for children of all grades. But in reality this is a part of a bigger 
problem, namely, the problem of curriculum development in basic 



33 ° 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


schools. Its solution demands systematic research and investigation. 
This is a legitimate task for teachers’ training colleges and institutes 
of educational research to take up in right earnest. 

(f) Coordination 

The problem of coordination of basic education with higher 
education is assuming more and more importance, as the number 
of children passing out of basic schools increases. The difficulties 
created by the two parallel systems of education — one basic and the 
other non-basic — at the elementary stage have been fully realized, 
so much so that even those who would have liked to keep the pure 
stream of basic education unsullied also at the subsequent stage, do 
not think it advisable to advocate an independent system of post-basic 
schools. 

The post-basic education must be integrated in the present 
system of secondary education. The post-basic school may be 
regarded just as one of the streams of the multipurpose school which 
will emphasize attainment of competence in the craft that a pupil 
has already learnt in his basic school. This arrangement will also 
safeguard the post-basic school against landing itself in the unhappy 
situation in which the basic school finds itself today on account of 
its being kept isolated from the system of elementary education. 
That is why the official view from the very beginning has tended 
to support integration of post-basic and multipurpose schools. A 
committee appointed by the Union Ministry of Education at the 
instance of the Central Advisory Board of Education in 1957 to study 
this matter in detail has underlined the need for integration of the 
post-basic school with the secondary school system of the country 
and has suggested as to how this could be done. The following 
recommendations of the Committee merit serious consideration: 

1. The study of crafts in post-basic schools should be considered equivalent to 
the study of the electives in the multipurpose schools and for doing this, proper 
standards should be laid down for both. 

2. Necessary assistance should be provided to every post-basic school to enable 
it to raise its standard of study in humanities and sciences to the same advanced 
level as is provided for them as electives in every higher secondary school. 

3. While selecting schools for conversion of multipurpose schools, the post-basic 
schools should be given the same consideration for this converison, wherever 
possible, as other higher secondary schools. 


BASIC EDUCATION: RETROSPECT 8c PROSPECT 3 3 1 2 3 

4. A common scheme of examination for both the post-basic schools and the 
multipurpose schools should be instituted by the State Boards o£ Secondary 
Education after giving due cognizance to the special features of the work done 
in post-basic schools. This should automatically imply the issue of the same 
certificate for students of the post-basic schools as for those of other higher 
secondary schools. 

5. During the interim period the Governments should recognize the school 
final examination of the post-basic schools as equivalent to the certificates 
awarded to the students of other higher secondary schools for purposes of 
employment and urge upon the universities to accord the same recognition to 
that examination for purposes of admission to institutions of higher learning. 

6. In order to enable post-basic schools to improve the quality of their teachers 
and strengthen their laboratory, library, etc., the same financial assistance and 
'guidance should be made available to the post-basic schools as is being done 
to the higher secondary and multipurpose schools. 

7. As a matter of policy the products of post-basic schools should, in the 
earlier stages, be given preference in the matter of employment on those special 
jobs for which their training has especially equipped them. 

8. The recommendation of the All-India Commission for Secondary Education 
regarding the study of crafts as a compulsory subject should be implemented 
in all higher secondary and multipurpose schools with due emphasis on the 
productive aspect of that work. 

g. The technique of correlation should be specifically emphasized in all higher 
secondary and multipurpose schools and utilised as an effective technique of 
teaching to the extent it is normally possible to do so at that stage of 
education. 

10. Every post -basic school should suitably add the words Higher Secondary 
to its name. 


(g) Supervision 

It was realized from the very inception of the scheme of basic 
education that a proper system of supervision should be devised to 
guide and help the basic school teacher in performing his duties 
in an efficient manner. In view of this the Zakir Husain Committee 
recommended that provision be made to train supervisors for this 
specialized work. Defining the role of the supervisor, the Committee 
underlined that he should serve as a leader in the educational 
experiment and offer cooperation and help to teachers who are 
relatively less experienced or less resourceful. 

All members of supervisory personnel should function in close 
collaboration with teachers in working out a curriculum that covers 
both the individual and social needs of the pupil. They must 
utilize community resources and prepare pupils to play their rightful 
role in the productive activity of the community. 



332 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

Supervisors should establish close contacts with representative 
groups in the community in order to study the problems of children 
and to determine the various ways in which local organizations like 
citizens committees, panchayats, youth clubs, children’s aid societies, 
Bharat Sewak Samaj, Bharat Boy Scouts and Girl Guides’ Associa- 
tion, etc., can aid in an out-of-school educational programme. 

Another function of supervisors is to guide teachers in organizing 
parent-teacher associations and in helping them to solve problems 
concerning the behaviour and activities of their children. 

Teachers would benefit greatly, if the supervisor demonstrates 
better techniques of teaching, when he comes to visit the school. 
In certain countries it is regarded as a part of the supervisor’s duty 
to devote some time to actual teaching. For instance, in Denmark 
an inspector is even required to teach in a school two days a week. 
It should be his duty to awaken healthy doubts as to the inadequacy 
of familiar routines, to provoke the unreflective to think, to stimulate 
experiments by discussion and suggestion and to spread progressive 
ideas in schools. The supervisor should help teachers in developing 
tests and examinations, in determining aims and objectives of 
subjects taught, in reorganizing and adapting courses of study, in 
developing assignments, units and teaching aids, and in improving 
the standard of productive work. 

A comprehensive programme of supervision cannot be carried 
out by the traditional method of inspection. It would need the use 
of varied techniques. In small schools it is possible for the super- 
visor to guide and help teachers individually by supervising their 
work, conferring with them, studying the causes of their failure, 
analysing learning difficulties of pupils, adjusting teacher-pupil 
differences, etc. But if the school is too big to make this individual 
approach impracticable, the supervisor can use group-methods for 
the guidance of all teachers in the school. He can hold conferences, 
panel discussions, seminars, suggest relevant reading materials from 
books and magazines, arrange field trips, educational excursions and 
summer camps, give demonstration and model lessons, use films and 
other visual aids, and the like. What particular method is to be 
used and how, would depend upon the nature of the problem to 
be tackled, the situation of the school in question and the resources 
available for the purpose. 


BASIC EDUCATION; RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 333 

It is obvious that the programme of supervision mentioned 
above would not only require a change in the attitude of the super- 
visor but also substantial strengthening of the supervisory staff so 
as to make it possible to increase the frequency and duration of 
supervision, and also to pay more attention to the basic schools 
situated in remote rural areas. It is also necessary to make the 
supervisor’s administrative and routine work as light as possible, 
so that he may devote most of his time to educational matters 
pertaining to the schools put under his charge. For the same reason 
the supervisory district and the number of schools entrusted to his 
care should be such as to be easily manageable. 

(h) Teacher Education 

If there is one single improvement that will go a long way in 
making basic education a success, that should be effected in 
the field of teacher education. It is stipulated that by the end of 
the Third Five-Year Plan all teacher training institutions numbering 
about 1,400 which are meant to prepare teachers for elementary 
schools will be of the basic type. It may not be possible to develop 
these training schools into first grade institutions all at once because 
of the lack of necessary resources. It is, therefore, suggested that 
in each district of every state at least one such training school be 
established so as to furnish the picture of basic education in concrete 
shape and substance. This training school should have four to five 
basic schools attached to it. This unit or centre of basic education 
should be adequately staffed and equipped, and be required to work 
out the total programme of basic education. It is hoped that such 
a centre would be able to provide practical guidance to other teachers 
in the field through extension work. 

Any improvement in teacher education will inevitably depend 
on the level of general education that a prospective teacher has 
acquired. Now it is quite practicable to fix the minimum quali- 
fication for all entrants to basic teacher training institutions as the 
successful completion of secondary education. It should not be 
difficult for any state to set 1965-66 as the dead-line beyond which 
a person who has not passed the high school examination may be 
deemed disqualified for recruitment as a teacher in any elementary 
school. It may, however, be felt necessary to relax the condition 



334 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

in respect of certain categories of teachers on account of their 
scarcity. For instance, women teachers possessing the prescribed 
qualification may not be available in the required number for some 
time to come, particularly to staff the rural schools, or there 
may be a temporary shortage of qualified teachers who are willing 
to work in tribal or remote areas. But it should be made possible 
to ensure a regular supply of fully qualified teachers even in such 
categories by the beginning of the Fifth Five-Year Plan i.e. 1970-71. 

Another pre-requisite for effecting any significant improvement 
in this field is that everywhere the period of training must be 
increased as soon as possible to two years for those who hold at least 
the high school certificate and to three years for those who have 
completed their education in the middle or senior basic school. 
The three-year period in the latter case may, however, be divided 
into a two-year continuous pre-service training and a one-year 
in-service education a little later. 

One of the most important sectors of teacher education which 
needs special attention and immediate modification is the curricular 
programme followed in basic teacher training institutions. With 
the exception of a few practical activities included in the community 
living programme, and some craft work, there is little in 
the current syllabus that is very well suited to basic or elementary 
education. Here the syllabus, textbooks and the methods of teaching 
in use have no particular relevance to the needs, interests and 
abilities of the basic school teacher. They are at best a watered- 
down version of what obtains in Secondary Teachers Training 
Colleges. While revising the training programme, the specific needs 
of basic education must be kept in view . Both the curricular content 
and methodology should be in tune with the level of understanding 
of student-teachers. Textbooks and other teaching materials have 
to be prepared accordingly. 

It is also necessary that the training institutions should take due 
note of the problems concerning multiple-class teaching and handling 
of large classes. For these are very crucial practical problems that 
teachers of basic schools have to face. Student teachers must, there- 
fore, be given actual experience of multiple-class teaching and 
teaching large classes. 

Besides vitalizing the regular pre-service teacher training pro- 


BASIC EDUCATION; RETROSPECT & PROSPECT 335 

gramme, there is an urgent need to organize in-service education 
programmes for the benefit of basic school teachers, so that they 
may keep on equipping themselves with all that is known to be 
better and effective both in theory and practice of education from 
time to time. It should be possible ultimately to provide every 
basic teacher an opportunity for in-service training of not less than 
two months’ duration in every five years of service. 

In-service training programmes need to be organized occasional- 
ly also for catering to the needs of headmasters and supervisors of 
basic schools. 

(i) Research 

There is need for research in various problems of basic educa- 
tion. Research organizations set up both at the national and state 
levels must take up this work in right earnest. 

Apart from the administrative problems which must be looked 
into and solved, there is an urgent need for research in the following 
areas of basic education; 

1. Curriculum : To an ordinary teacher of the basic school, 

the concept of activity-curriculum is a complicated affair. Through 
research, lines of development of the basic curriculum must be made 
clear and specific units of material for learning should be evolved 
in relation to children’s activities in the basic school. 

2. Methodology of Teaching: The technique of correlation 

is something like a puzzle to the basic teacher. Research should aim 
at bringing this technique home to him. Two other important 
problems of research in this sector are those of multiple-class teaching 
and teaching large classes. 

3. Craft and Productivity : There seems to be either rigid 

orthodoxy or cynical light-heartedness in the matter of crafts suitable 
for basic schools in a particular area. Research is needed to identify 
educational possibilities of various crafts and develop them in terms 
of their techniques and productivity. 

4. Evaluation : Basic education, being a big departure from 

the traditional education in its aims and objectives will not make 
much headway unless suitable techniques of evaluating the outcome 
against its aims and objectives are evolved, and these tools are put 
in the hands of teachers and administrators of basic education. 



33 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


5. Teacher Education : The problems of basic teacher training 

institutions need investigation with a view to making the training 
programmes effective. Preparation of suitable literature for student 
teachers needs immediate attention. 

The programme of action outlined above does not indicate how 
long it will take to establish basic education as the only system of 
elementary education throughout the country. It is mainly because 
the data needed for a perspective plan of this nature are not 
available. As it is, there is no reason for alarm or despondency. 
The experience of other countries which are now advanced but were 
backward a few decades ago may enlighten us in charting out our 
course of action. Even in countries with far better material 
resources, and far less population to educate, it proved too difficult 
to launch a programme of qualitative improvement of education 
on a large scale, until a minimum standard of education had been 
made available to all children of school-age. 

Demands of our democracy are so pressing that we cannot 
afford to go slow with the programme of educational expansion under 
the plea that quality of education must be raised at all cost. We 
can fervently hope that after the Fifth Plan, when the problem of 
universal education will have been mostly solved, the expansion of 
basic education as an improved type of elementary education would 
take place by leaps and bounds. Till then, within the available 
resources, we must go on developing and refining the various aspects 
of basic education as indicated earlier. There is no doubt that the 
effort made during the interim period will provide the necessary 
conditions for a speedy conversion of the free, compulsory and 
universal system of elementary education into the basic pattern. 


CHAPTER 16 

Improving Physical Facilities in Elementary Schools 

By and large, the average elementary school in India is very 
poorly equipped in respect of even the minimum essential physical 
facilities. In order to provide satisfactory conditions under which 
the teachers can impart effective instruction, and in order to be 
able to attract and retain children, the elementary schools need 
certain physical facilities such as a good site, an adequate campus 
(including a playground and some land for farming or kitchen- 
gardening), buildings for tuitional and other purposes (including, 
wherever possible, residential accommodation for teachers), and a 
good deal of equipment (including a fair collection of teaching aids 
and books). Only about 40 per cent of the schools have tuitional 
buildings of their own, many of which have become inadequate 
and stand in need of special repairs. Quarters for teachers are not 
available, with the solitary exception of a few quarters for women 
teachers which have been constructed very recently. It is obvious 
that any programme of improving physical facilities would involve 
not only financial outlay on a large scale but also an organization 
of considerable complexity to carry it out. 

I. School Buildings 

The problem of constructing and maintaining buildings for 
elementary schools is a major part of the total problem. In 
1946-47, the provision of buildings for elementary schools was far 
from adequate. No accurate statistics are available for the country 
as a whole. But the available studies relating to selected areas 
show that only about 20 per cent of the schools had their own' 
buildings, that is, buildings specially constructed for schools. Some 
of these were old and inadequate and in need of urgent and large- 
scale repairs. But in spite of this handicap, they were the best 
buildings the elementary schools had. About 30 per cent of the 
schools were in rented buildings, which, by and large, 

22 


were 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 


339 


33 8 

unsatisfactory. Most of them were residential houses, especially in 
urban areas, and were very inconvenient for use as schools. The 
remaining 50 per cent of the schools were housed in rent-free 
buildings which, on the whole, was the least satisfactory type of 
accommodation. These schools were located mostly in temples, 
chaupals, and such other public places. The tremendous expan- 
sion in enrolment that had taken place during the last fifteen years 
has made the situation worse. Additional school rooms could not 
be provided as fast as the enrolment grew. Consequently, there 
is now a much greater number of schools for which buildings have 
to be constructed. Moreover, a very large proportion of the 
existing buildings, which were put up long ago, are in a bad way 
at present and it has not been possible to provide funds even for 

the most essential repairs to them. 

The problem of providing satisfactory buildings to the 
elementary schools is thus of very great importance and raises the 
following issues: 

(1) What would be the approximate outlay required for 
providing satisfactory buildings to all elementary schools within 
a stipulated period, say, the end of the Fifth Five-Year Plan? 

(2) How could the finances required for the construction of 

elementary school buildings be raised? 

(3) What should be the appropriate administrative machinery 
for constructing and maintaining buildings for elementary 

schools? . . 

(4) Since the total amount required for the provision of 

buildings would be very large and probably beyond the resources 
likely to be available in the near future, what measures could be 
adopted to reduce the cost of building construction per pupil? 

A few tentative solutions to these difficult problems are proposed 
to be discussed in the following paragraphs. 

Finances Required for the Programme of School Buildings 

The total amount required for the construction of elementary 
school buildings can be divided into two parts: (1) the amount 

required for clearing the backlog and for providing adequate and 
satisfactory buildings for the existing enrolment at the elementary 


stage ; and (2) the amount required for the additional children that 
would be brought into elementary schools. 

It is easy to make an estimate of the second part, i.e., of the 
outlay required for providing classrooms for the additional enrol- 
ment. At the end of the Third Five-Year Plan, the total enrol- 
ment in elementary schools would be about 60 million. It may 
be possible to reach 100 per cent enrolment in the age-group 6-11 
and 50 per cent enrolment in the age-group 11-14 by 1975 or the 
end of the Fifth Five-Year Plan. On this assumption, the 1 total 
enrolment in elementary schools will rise to 100 million by 1975. 
This implies an annual increase of about 4 million. Assuming a 
pupil-teacher ratio of 40: 1, we shall need about 100,000 additional 
classrooms every year. This will require an annual outlay of 
Rs. 300 million, at the rate of Rs. 3,000 per classroom.* 

With regard to the first part, no reliable data are available 
regarding the size of existing backlog in the provision of buildings 
for elementary schools. The first step, therefore, would be to collect 
some basic data on the subject. This could be done through 
sample surveys. 

Pending such sample surveys, whose findings would be more 
reliable, we will have to depend upon such data as are available. 
Surveys of elementary schools have been made in small areas in 
some parts of the country ; and it is seen from them that, at the 
most, about 40 per cent of the existing enrolment may be said to 
have satisfactory accommodation and that we will have to provide 
new accommodation for the remaining 60 per cent. At the end of 
the Third Five-Year Plan, the total enrolment in elementary 
schools would be about 60 million. On the above basis, we may 
assume that 24 million of children are satisfactorily accommodated 
and that new school buildings would have to be put up for about 
36 million children. This implies the construction of 900,000 class- 
rooms (at the rate of 40 pupils to one class room), and a total cost 
of Rs. 2,700 million at Rs. 3,000 per classroom. Assuming that 
this backlog would be cleared in a period of ten years, we shall 
need an outlay of Rs. 270 million per year for this purpose. 

Taking these two estimates together, we may assume that an 
amount of Rs. 570 million per year would be needed during the 

* At 1960-61 prices. 



340 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 


Fourth and the Fifth Five-Year Plans in order to provide adequate 
and satisfactory buildings for all elementary schools. The magni- 
tude of this outlay becomes evident if we bear in mind 
that the total direct expenditure on elementary education is 
Rs. 1,198 million at present. 


Raising Necessary Funds 

It will thus be seen that the total amount required for the 
building programme of elementary schools would be very large, 
particularly during the next ten years, when we will have to clear 
the backlog of the past, and also to provide buildings for the rapidly 
increasing new enrolment. The main problem to be studied, there- 
fore, is this : How can the funds required for this huge programme 

be raised? . 

(a) Loans : The Committee on School Buildings appointed by 

the Central Advisory Board of Education as early as in 1941 drew 
attention to the fact that, in Great Britain (as in every other 
advanced country) the financing of ‘social construction out of 
revenue, except where the amount involved was comparatively small, 
is strongly discouraged by Government. Sites were purchased, 
schools built and furniture purchased out of loans spread over 
periods varying between 15 years in the case of temporary buildings, 
30 to 40 years in the case of permanent ones and 60 m the case of 
sites. By this means it was possible to embark on a heavy building 
programme without placing an intolerable burden on the budgets 
of one or two years.’ The Committee strongly recommended that 
‘all expenditure on school sites, buildings and equipment exceeding 
Rs 5,000 for any one item should be met from loans*.’ This 
recommendation of the School Buildings Committee was also 
endorsed by the Sargent Report and the estimates of recurring 
expenditure given in the Report made provision for interest and 
sinking fund charges only on the assumption that non-recurrrmg 
expenditure on buildings would, as a rule, be met out of loans. 

In spite of this recommendation, the idea of financing 
school buildings through loans has not yet been adopted on any 
appreciable scale. Some of the big municipal corporations, like 


the Xat^ R p? P r * 


34 * 

Bombay or Ahmedabad, which have been entrusted with the 
administration of elementary education, have been constructing 
school buildings through a loan programme. The other conspicuous 
exception is the old Bombay State where an interesting scheme for 
the construction of buildings for elementary schools through loans 
was taken up in 1951. In this state the age-old provision made 
for the elementary teachers under local bodies was the institution 
of a contributory provident fund to which each teacher subscribed 
at the rate of 6^ per cent of his salary and an equal amount was 
given by the employing authority. The total amount thus collected 
was generally invested in government securities and fetched 
interest which was added to the provident fund accumulations. 
Each local body maintained separate accounts of the provident 
funds of all the teachers working under it. The State Government 
took over the responsibility of maintaining the provident fund 
accounts of all the elementary teachers in the state and all the 
separate provident fund accounts which were maintained by the 
local bodies in the past were pooled together into one account. 
This made it possible for the State Government to utilise these 
funds for such purposes as it desired. Legislation was made 
authorizing government to invest the provident fund amounts of 
the elementary teachers in advancing loans to local authorities for 
construction of primary school buildings and an interest of 4 per 
cent per annum was guaranteed to the teachers. This made it 
possible to have a big sum at the disposal of government for the 
construction of school buildings, because the total deductions for 
the provident funds of the elementary teachers came to nearly 
Rs. 8 million per year. The State Government also started a 
scheme under which the local bodies undertook to construct a 
building for an elementary school in a given area if the people of 
the locality gave the site free of charge and raised 40 per cent of 
the total cost of the building. In the case of very poor and back- 
ward localities, government reserved the right to reduce the local 
contribution or to remit it altogether. The government at the 
same time set up an efficient and decentralized machinery for the 
construction of school buildings. For this purpose, special com- 
mittees, known as Primary School Building Committees, which 
consisted of the officials concerned and a few non-officials, were 



34 * 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 


343 


constituted at the district level to develop the programme. A 
special non-lapsable fund called the ‘Primary School Buildings 
Fund' was created in each district and into it were credited all the 
grants and loans sanctioned by government, the contributions 
received from the public and the local bodies, and all other 
receipts related to the scheme. Wherever necessary, a special 
engineering establishment was also created at the district level to 
construct or to supervise the construction of school buildings. 
Type designs for school buildings, which varied from area to area 
in view of local conditions, were also prepared and the school 
building committees were instructed to follow them as closely as 
possible. 

The manner in which the scheme worked may be briefly 
described. Whenever the people of a village wanted to construct 
a new school building or to expand an existing building, they 
applied to the School Building Committee of the District, offering 
a site, free of charge, and agreeing to pay 40 per cent of the total 
cost of the building. On approval of the proposal in principle by 
the Committee, the villagers collected their contribution and paid 
it to the Committee. The Building Committee then obtained a 
loan from the State Government for its share of the cost and 
sanctioned the construction of the building (the loan was repay- 
able with interest at 4 per cent in 20 annual equated payments). 
The construction of the building was sometimes done by the official 
machinery under the Building Committee ; but, in most cases, the 
villagers themselves came forward to construct the building and 
the Committee merely supervised the work. The amount required 
for repayment of these loans was provided in the annual budget of 
the local authority concerned which got a grant-in-aid thereon from 
the State Government in accordance with the rules. 

Between 1952-53 (when the scheme was first introduced) and 
1960-61, an amount of Rs. 25 million was advanced as loans and 
about 10,000 new classrooms were constructed and special repairs 
to about 1,200 classrooms were carried out. 

It may be pointed out in this context that it is not neces- 
sary to make a programme for the construction of elementary 
school buildings depend exclusively on the provident fund accu- 
mulations of elementary teachers. This is merely a convenient 


source from which loans for the school building programme can be 
raised and, where the teachers contribute to a provident fund, it 
will be possible to utilize its accumulations for this purpose on the 
lines of the Bombay experiment. But, in several states, elementary 
teachers are eligible for a pension and do not contribute to a 
provident fund. In others the total amount of provident fund 
accumulations is far too small in comparison with the total amount 
required for the programme. In such cases, therefore, it will be 
necessary to raise loans in the open market for financing elementary 
school buildings, either in addition to or in lieu of, loans from 
provident funds of elementary teachers. 

( b ) Local Contributions and Donations : We have referred so 
far to only one important source of raising funds for elementary 
school buildings, viz., loans. But this need not be the only source 
and, in order to obtain the best results, it will be necessary to tap 
two other sources: (1) contributions of local communities and 

(2) private philanthropy. 

It is possible to raise a considerable proportion of the funds 
required for the construction of elementary school buildings 
through contributions from local communities. In most states, the 
existing rules require that the local communities should pay 
a certain proportion of the cost of constructing a school building 
in their habitation. The usual experience is that this programme 
is failing, not so much because local communities are not coming 
forward with their share of contribution, but because the state 
governments do not have funds to provide their share of the cost. 
In Gujarat, for example, a recent study made by the State Govern- 
ment showed that the total amount of ‘ripe’ claims, that is, demands 
of villagers who had provided a site free of charge and deposited 
50 per cent of the total cost of the building with the government, 
came to nearly Rs. 5.4 million and that it was not possible 
to construct these buildings simply because the State Government 
could not spare its share of Rs. 5.4 million. If loans could 
be raised by state governments and the demand made by the local 
communities met quickly, local enthusiasm would be encour- 
aged and people would be coming forward in larger numbers to 
assist in the construction of buildings in their localities. It is true 
that the poorer communities, particularly in areas where the 



344 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 


345 


scheduled tribes live, will not be able to pay such local contributions. 
But the rules always provide that, in such cases, the state govern- 
ment would reduce, or exempt the community from making the 
contribution and bear a correspondingly greater share of the cost 
of the building. 

At present, there is no statutory machinery for the collection 
of local contributions for school buildings. Generally a few village 
leaders take the initiative in constructing a school building for 
their village, form a committee for the purpose, collect the neces- 
sary local contribution on some agreed basis (usually decided upon 
in a meeting of the village people) and credit it to government. 
While this spontaneous and unofficial method should be fully 
utilised, it is also necessary to develop a tradition that the initiative 
and responsibility for the collection of local contributions should 
be increasingly and legitimately assumed by local bodies at the 
village level. For instance, where village panchayats have been 
established, they should be authorized statutorily to collect the 
amount of local contributions. Even now, there are several village 
panchayats which accept this responsibility and collect their local 
contribution through the levy of a surcharge on house-tax or land- 
revenue, levied for one or more years. There are also several cases 
where the village panchayats have paid their local contribution by 
raising a loan which was later repaid in a period of 3 to 10 years 
from the current revenue. Such practices need to be encouraged 
and developed to the fullest extent possible. 

Philanthropy also has an important role to play in this sector 
where the expenditure is of a non-recurring character. In this 
context, reference may be made to an interesting scheme in Surat 
district in Maharashtra which was started by a single individual, 
Sir Purushottamdas Thakurdas, a wealthy resident of the district. 
He decided to assist in the construction of buildings for the 
elementary schools and created a trust which agreed to pay half the 
cost of any building for an elementary school in the Surat district 
for which a free site was obtained, and half the cost of the building 
was contributed by the local community and the District Board of 
Surat jointly. The scheme was in operation for quite a few years 
and several hundred school buildings were constructed under it. 
There is hardly any village in Surat district now which does not 


have a good school building. What was done here by one man for 
a whole district could be done by a number of people for other 
areas. What is needed is an organized effort and the right approach. 

(c) Non-lapsable Fund: The different experiments which 

have been successfully tried point to the need for creating a non- 
lapsable fund for the construction of school buildings. The usual 
experience is that the construction of school buildings under 
a routine budget grant which lapses at the end of the year, presents 
several administrative problems, particularly if the programme is 
of a large size. The construction of any given school building takes 
a fairly long time. The selection of a proper site and its approval 
by the appropriate authorities, the preparation of plans and esti- 
mates, the collection of the local contribution and sanctioning the 
requisite government grant-in-aid, the actual construction of the 
building — these and other stages consume considerable time and 
very often, two to three years may elapse between the date on which 
the proposal to construct a school building is first put forward and 
the date on which it is completed and occupied by the school. 
To administer such a programme, with grants which lapse 
annually, becomes difficult. It may be pointed out that one of the 
major reasons for the success of the Bombay Plan referred to 
earlier, was the creation of a non-lapsable primary school buildings 
fund for each district. This idea now deserves to be generalized 
and each state should create a non-lapsable fund for elementary 
school buildings. All loans raised for elementary school buildings, 
all grants sanctioned by government for the purpose from time to 
time, and all donations and contributions of the public and the 
local community for the programme should be credited into it and 
the fund should be utilized exclusively for the construction of 
elementary school buildings. 

Machinery for Construction and Maintenance of School Buildings 

It is also essential to develop an efficient and economic 
machinery for the construction and maintenance of elementary 
school buildings if the large programme visualised in the Fourth 
and the Fifth Five-Year Plans is to be successfully implemented. 

The problem of maintenance of school buildings is com- 
paratively simpler. In respect of schools conducted by the state 



346 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 


347 


governments or local bodies, it is the responsibility of the Public 
Works Department of the state or local body concerned to main- 
tain their buildings. The private organizations maintain their 
own buildings ; but the number of such schools is small and they 
do not present any difficult problem. Nor is there a problem about 
school buildings in urban areas because the Public Works Depart- 
ments of the state government or the municipality concerned 
generally maintain them in fairly satisfactory condition. The 
problem of maintenance becomes difficult only in rural areas 
because the school buildings are scattered, often located in out of 
the way places, and extremely numerous. The centralized Public 
Works Departments of state governments or local bodies do not 
generally have the personnel (and sometimes, not even the funds) 
to maintain these buildings in proper repair. Two practices are, 
therefore, commonly adopted. First, a small amount for main- 
tenance of a school building is provided in the contingent expen- 
diture of the school and the head-teacher is expected to carry out 
the current repairs of the building from year to year and the 
utilization of the amount is supervised by the inspecting officer. 
The other practice — the more common one — is to make no provi- 
sion at all for the maintenance of the school building in the 
contingent expenditure of the school and to lay down a rule that 
it is the responsibility of the local community to maintain the 
school building. As there is usually no satisfactory agency 
efficiently functioning at the village level which can assume this 
responsibility, this rule means little more than a total neglect of 
the school buildings, the only exception being the repairs which 
may be carried out by some enthusiastic teacher with the help of 
the local leaders and students. 

Probably, the best solution of this problem would be to create 
an efficient agency at the local level to look after not only 
the maintenance of the school buildings, but also a number of other 
programmes connected with elementary schools such as the enforce- 
ment of compulsory attendance or local participation in the 
provision of ancillary services such as free supply of textbooks 
and of school meals. The details of this programme will be 
discussed in later chapters. It will, however, be enough to state 
here that we should try to establish school committees at the 


village level for securing community support and participation in 
implementing certain local programmes connected with elementary 
schools. It should be the responsibility of this committee — which 
should ultimately be a statutory committee established by the local 
village panchayat — to provide for the maintenance of elementary 
school buildings from the funds placed at its disposal by the local 
village panchayat and the grant-in-aid received from government 
for the purpose. In the long run, this would be the most 
economical and efficient agency for the maintenance of elementary 
school buildings. In the meanwhile, and as a transitional measure, 
the funds necessary for the maintenance of elementary school 
buildings should be provided in the contingent expenditure of the 
schools. 

Reduction in the Cost of Buildings 

A very important problem in this regard is to reduce the cost 
of building construction per pupil. It has been pointed out earlier 
that, during the Fourth and the Fifth Five-Year Plans, building 
accommodation will have to be provided for about 76 million pupils 
of elementary schools. A reduction in the building costs even by a 
small amount per pupil would, therefore, go a long way in reducing 
the total cost of the programme. Unfortunately not much attention 
has been paid to this problem so far ; but it will obviously have to 
be highlighted in the near future. 

A reference may be made here to some pioneer work which has 
been done in this regard during the last few years. The Ministry of 
Education carried out a study in the proper designing of school 
buildings with a view to making them more functionally useful 
and, at the same time, less costly and its findings have been 
published in the brochure Planning Schools for India {1959)- The 
Committee on Plan Projects has carried out a study of the buildings 
of the higher secondary schools in Delhi and made some very 
useful recommendations which have been published in the Report 
on Delhi School Buildings (i960). Recently, the Team has also 
studied the construction of buildings for primary schools in Delhi 
and brought out a Report on Primary School Buildings in Delhi 
( J 9 ^ 3 )- The Central Building Research Institute in the Roorkee 
University has also carried out extensive work on the designing of 



34 § 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 


349 


low cost school buildings. There is a special unit for the designing 
of school buildings attached to the Directorate of Education in Bihar 
and it has also done some useful work in the field. These pioneer 
efforts mark a good beginning although it is obvious that more 
extensive and intensive work on these lines is needed in the future. 

These and similar studies carried out so far show that the total 
cost of an elementary school building can be considerably reduced 
if due attention is paid to (a) proper space requirements, ( b ) proper 
designs and specifications, and (c) use of local materials. It is not 
within the scope of this chapter to describe the technical details of 
these studies. A general reference may however be made to that 
element in costs which is of particular importance— building 
materials. 

By far the greatest economies can be effected by the use of local 
materials. For instance, where good stone is available locally, 
a stone wall of 15 or 1 8 inches in thickness would be more 
economical than a brick wall of 9 inch thickness (or even a cavity 
brick wall of 8 inch thickness), and probably more durable. Where 
plenty of grass is available for a thatched roof and local construction 
of houses is also done with thatched roof, there is no reason why 
the school building should have a flat R.C.C. roof or even a roof 
with asbestos sheets or Mangalore tiles. In low rainfall areas 
where houses are generally constructed with unburnt earthen 
bricks, it may be cheaper to adopt the same method of construction 
for a school building. In designing the school building, therefore, 
an attempt should always be made to make the maximum use of 
local materials available and to keep as close to local forms 
of construction as possible. This will diminish the pressure on 
the scarce building materials — cement and steel — and reduce, not 
only the costs of construction, but the maintenance costs as well. 

One general observation can be made here. In designing 
buildings for elementary schools, especially in rural areas, one is 
likely to fall into one or the other of two errors : the school building 
may become too dull and drab in an exaggerated attempt at 
austerity and economy, or it might symbolise a romantic effort to 
create a dream in brick and mortar and may result in an orna- 
mental structure which, besides being costly, is entirely out of 
keeping with its environment. Care has to be taken to see that 


both these extremes are avoided. An imaginative use of local 
material and a design which makes use of open spaces rather than 
mere rectangular class rooms are more likely to give a building 
which will not only be inexpensive but also aesthetically satisfying. 

Quarters for Teachers 

Side by side with school buildings, it is also necessary to provide 
quarters for teachers. The provision of such quarters will enable 
teachers to stay in the villages where they are posted and will greatly 
assist in improving the standard of instruction in elementary schools. 
Desirable as they generally are, such quarters become a ‘must' in the 
case of women teachers in rural areas and of both men and women 
teachers in tribal areas. In the Second and the Third Five-Year 
Plans, a number of such quarters have been constructed in all states 
with the help of central assistance ; but the scale of the programme 
is too small and its tempo will have to be increased considerably 
during the next 10 years. 

II. Equipment 

The provision of adequate equipment for elementary schools, 
including teaching aids, books and other reading material, is also 
of very great importance. By and large, our schools are very poorly 
equipped at present and this deficiency makes teaching consider- 
ably ineffective. 

It is possible to make some rough estimate of the additional 
expenditure required for this programme, on the basis of some 
studies that have been carried out in small areas. They show that 
the total cost of equipping an elementary school adequately would 
come to Rs. 100 per child. This would include furniture, teaching 
aids, craft equipment, books, material for games, sanitary facilities 
and utensils for school meals. Even if equipment is restricted to a 
bare minimum of essential items, the cost per child will be about 
Rs. 50. Assuming further that the existing provision of equip- 
ment is almost the same as in the case of buildings, i.e., only 40 per 
cent of the existing enrolment is provided with adequate equip- 
ment, it will be necessary to provide equipment for a total enrol- 
ment of 76 million children in the Fourth and the Fifth Five-Year 



350 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

Plans. At Rs. 50 per child, this involves a total expenditure of 
Rs. 3,800 million in a period of 10 years or Rs. 380 million per year. 
How huge this amount is can be realized when it is remembered 
that we now provide only a small sum of Rs. 5 P er child when a 
new school is to be opened and very often, even this amount cannot 
be provided! 

As in the case of buildings, it may also be possible to enlist 
the support of the local communities for providing elementary 
schools with adequate equipment. In this context, the programme 
of school improvement conferences developed in Madras State is of 
great interest. Here, a group of 50 to 60 schools in charge of an 
inspecting officer is taken up as a unit and a decision is taken to 
organize a School Improvement Conference for them. Generally 
the decision is taken at least six months before the date of 
the conference. The teachers then go to work, prepare lists of 
existing equipment and also of the additional equipment they need. 
Meetings are then held in each local community and the leaders 
are contacted. The needs of the local school are put before them 
and an appeal is made for raising funds to supply the deficiencies. 
Usually the response is very good and the people promise donations 
in cash and kind and these are systematically collected. Very often, 
the people give promises which have to be realised over a longish 
period of 6 to 12 months and the necessary follow-up in such cases 
also is done by the teachers. The School Improvement Conference 
itself is then held under the chairmanship of some distinguished 
guest. The list of contributions received is announced and several 
further donations are received at the conference itself. The 
whole programme brings the school much closer to the community 
and actually enriches the school with a good deal of equipment 
which would not have been otherwise available to it. So far more 
than 200 School Improvement Conferences have been held and the 
total amount thus collected is estimated to be nearly Rs. 40 million. 

Another important point should be mentioned in this context. 
When the equipment is supplied by government or by the local 
body, neither the teachers nor the villagers have been very careful 
about its proper maintenance. When, however, the equipment is 
donated by the village people or purchased through their contribu- 
tions, their entire attitude is changed. They begin to take interest 


IMPROVING PHYSICAL FACILITIES 35 1 

in the local school and very often want to find out as to what has 
happened to the equipment given by them. Not infrequently, 
they pay a visit to the school to see how the equipment given by 
them is being used. It has been the general experience in Madras 
that the care and upkeep of the school equipment has considerably 
improved through this programme. 

This, therefore, is another area where the cooperation of the 
local community may go a great way in improving the equipment 
in elementary schools. This programme is now being taken 
up by other States but the rate of progress is not fast enough. What 
is needed is an all-India drive for the development of this pro- 
gramme in all parts of the country. 

III. A Programme for Action 

It will be seen from the foregoing discussion that, with a view 
to improving the efficiency of elementary schools, it is absolutely 
essential to devise a large scale programme to provide every 
elementary school with a good building and adequate equipment 
in a period of not more than ten years. This programme should 
have a high priority in the Fourth and the Fifth Five-Year Plans ; 
but preliminary work for its implementation may be started during 
the remaining two years of the Third Five-Year Plan itself. 

Immediate surveys should be undertaken throughout the 
country, for ascertaining the exact provision of buildings and 
equipment which is made at present and for estimating the addi- 
tional expenditure required in order to bring each elementary 
school to the prescribed minimum standard in these matters. Type 
designs for school buildings should be prepared separately for each 
region and in keeping with local conditions. Research should be 
undertaken on a fairly large scale for reducing the cost of school 
buildings through improved designs and specifications. Non- 
lapsable funds for school buildings should be instituted in every 
state and an adequate machinery should be created for undertaking 
and implementing this large-scale programme successfully in every 
part of the country. 

A nation-wide movement for enlisting popular support and 
local participation in this huge programme should be immediately 



Supervision of Elementary Schools 


The idea of improving standards in elementary schools through 
good supervision was accepted early in modern Indian education. 
In 1851, Mr. Thomason, the Lieutenant-Governor of the North- 
Western Provinces, proposed the creation of a three-tier system of 
inspection consisting of a Pargunnah Visitor for every two or more 
Tahseeldarees, a Zilla Visitor in each district and a Visitor-General 
for the whole of the province. According to his plan, it was the 
duty of the Pargunnah Visitors to visit all the towns and villages 
in their jurisdiction and to ascertain the means of instruction avail- 
able to the people. Where there was no school, they were to 
persuade the people to have one and to offer their assistance in 
finding teachers and books. Where schools were in existence, they 
were to ascertain the nature of instruction and the number of 
scholars and to assist in improving standards in the school. The 
Zilla Visitors were to supervise the work of the Pargunnah 
Visitors and the Visitor-General was to supervise the working of 
the system as a whole. These proposals, which were approved by 
the Court of Directors, were really the precursors of the Education 
Departments and it was on these lines that the departments were 
constituted in 1855 the provinces of Bombay, Madras, Bengal, 
North Western Provinces and Oudh, and the Punjab. By 1881-82, 
they had also been established in Central Provinces (1862), Berar 
(1866), Coorg (1870-71), and Assam (1874). Some of the big 
princely states also had their own independent Departments of 
Education ; but information about these is not available. 

By 1881, the organization of the inspecting staff as well as the 
general pattern of its working was fairly standardized. Under the 
Director of Public Instruction, who was the Head of the Depart- 
ment in the province as a whole, there were inspectors in charge 
of a division or a group of districts. They supervised the working 
of the entire inspecting staff under them and were personally 
responsible for the supervision of the secondary schools. The 


23 



354 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


elementary schools were generally looked after by the officers at the 
district level (known as Deputy or Assistant Inspectors) who, m 
their turn, were assisted by a number of subordinate officers (known 
as Assistant Deputy Inspectors, or Sub-Inspectors, or Sub-Deputy 
Inspectors). In 1881-82, the number of deputy inspectors (at the 
district level) was 238 and that of their subordinate officers 
was 241. Each subordinate officer was in charge of about 133 
elementary schools. In view of the large number of schools 
entrusted to his care and the difficulty of communications, he had 
a very heavy touring job and was on tour for about 200 days in a 
year. It was his duty to pay a visit to every school and to ascertain 
its progress by examining every pupil in every subject. Sometimes 
he paid a visit to the school in situ while, on other occasions, the 
teachers and their pupils had to meet him at convenient central 
places for examination and inspection. He also gave advice to the 
teachers in improving the standards of education in their schools, and 
in government schools, wrote the confidential reports on teachers. 

A significant development of this period was the appointment 
of women inspectors to supervise girls schools. It was found that, 
in the social conditions then prevailing, women teachers could not 
be attracted to the profession in adequate numbers unless there 
were women inspectors to supervise their work and to guide an 
assist them. A special cadre of women inspecting officers was, 
therefore, created and although their number was comparatively 
very small, their very presence was a great encouragement to women 
teachers and accelerated the expansion of the education of gills. 

It may also be mentioned that the cost of inspection and 
supervision was comparatively high during this period, main y 
because the total expansion achieved was limited. In 1881-82, the 
percentage of total expenditure on direction, inspection and super- 
vision to total expenditure on education was 15.68 in Assam 15.38 
in Central Provinces, 13.51 in Bihar, 12.24 m North Western 
Provinces and Oudh, 10.40 in Punjab, 9-°9 m Madras, 7.31 
in Bombay, 7.02 in Bengal and 5.72 in Coorg. 

Developments between 1881 and 1917 

During the next 35 years, the inspecting staff appointed to 
supervise elementary schools increased very considerably. In 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 


355 


1916-17, there were, in British India as a whole, 81 inspectors, 86 
assistant inspectors, 388 deputy or district inspectors, 1,041 sub- 
inspectors or officers of similar grade, 240 supervisors, 289 inspecting 
Pandits, 16 inspecting Maulavis, 31 inspectresses, 37 assistant and 
sub-assistant inspectresses — thus making a total of 2,209 inspecting 
officers as against a total of 45 inspectors and assistant inspectors, 
238 deputy inspectors and 241 sub-deputy inspectors in 1881-82. 
In spite of this expansion, the inadequacy of the inspecting staff 
was still felt very keenly because, during the same period, the 
number of educational institutions, pupils and teachers had in- 
creased at an even faster rate. The standard adopted at this time 
was to allocate 80 primary schools to one inspecting officer. Even 
this was a very heavy burden because an inspecting officer could not 
do justice to more than about 50 schools. But the actual conditions 
were very much worse. In Madras, every sub-assistant inspector 
had an average of 196 schools in his charge and an assistant and a 
sub-assistant inspectress, 153 schools. In Bengal, the average 
number of institutions per officer was 114. Taking India as a 
whole, the number of boys’ middle and primary schools for each 
officer of the rank of a deputy or sub-inspector was 91. In other 
words, the inspecting staff actually available was about half of what 
it should have been. 

The total expenditure on inspection increased from Rs. 1.35 
million in 1881-82 to Rs. 4.6 million in 1916-17. In spite of this 
increase in absolute figures, the proportion of the total expenditure 
on inspection to total educational expenditure decreased from 
7-44 per cent in 1881-82 to 4.4 per cent in 1916-17. It showed 
some variations from province to province and stood at 5.9 per cent 
in Madras, 5.2 per cent in Bombay and Bengal, 5.9 per cent in the 
United Provinces and the Punjab, 9 per cent in Bihar and Orissa, 
7-9 per cent in Central Provinces and 10.7 per cent in Assam. It 
cannot be said that this rate of expenditure on inspection was 
unduly large ; and it is even possible to make out a case, in view 
of the heavy load on the inspecting officers described above, that 
it was considerably inadequate. The general feeling in the official 
circles at this time, however, was that these ‘overheads’ were unduly 
high and it was this feeling that mainly prevented further expan- 
sion of the inspectorate. The Education Departments pointed out 



35 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 


357 


that India needs a larger inspectorate than the advanced countries 
of the West due to the long distances to be travelled, under- 
developed means of communication, lack of unofficial supervision 
and poor quality of teachers who required constant vigilance and 
advice. They also drew attention to the fact that the proportion of 
the expenditure on inspection to total educational expenditure 
‘appeared' large, not because it was really high, but because the 
general bill of education remained deplorably low on account of 
the poor salaries paid to teachers and the inadequate contingent 
expenditure provided for the schools. These arguments were, how- 
ever, not appreciated adequately and the shortage of inspecting staff 
continued to be a major handicap for qualitative improvement. 

The concept of school supervision began to change radically 
in this period under the influence of the strong movement 
for educational reform which began in England at the opening of 
the 20th century. The inspecting officers were now expected, not 
only to perform their routine duties of examining the pupils and 
looking after the administration of teacher personnel, but also to 
help and guide the teachers in adopting better methods of teaching 
and in improving educational standards in schools. In addition 
to examination and inspection of all primary and middle schools, 
therefore, the deputy inspectors and their assistants were also 
expected to hold conferences of teachers, to explain the methods 
to be followed in the teaching of different subjects, to watch model 
lessons being given by teachers, criticize these lessons and to give 
model lessons themselves. They had to maintain log books of 
instructions given to teachers and to watch their implementation 
in successive visits. They were also expected to meet the villagers, 
to ascertain their educational needs and to make an effort to 
increase school enrolments. They were particularly enjoined to 
look after the welfare of children from backward communities 
attending the schools. Some of them were provided with magic 
lanterns for carrying on educational propaganda. They were also 
required to keep in touch with the revenue and other district 
officers and to seek their assistance in educational development. It 
must be stated, however, that owing mainly to the heavy load of 
work, most of the inspecting officers devoted their time to routine 
functions of inspection and were not able to develop the newer 


functions of guiding the teacher to improve the standards of 
education to the extent necessary. 

Another important problem that arose during this period 
related to the status and remuneration of the inspecting staff. In 
some provinces, the inspecting staff formed part of the Education 
Department and had the status of government officers. In others, 
many of them were employees of the local bodies and had an 
inferior status. The remuneration of the deputy inspectors and 
their subordinates was not very satisfactory and it was particularly 
so among those who were the employees of the local bodies. A 
feeling, therefore, began to grow — this was a part of the general 
movement which arose in this period for improving the remunera- 
tion of teachers and other workers in the Education Departments 

that in the interest of standards in elementary schools, it was 
necessary to give a high status to the inspecting officers and 
to improve their remuneration. Towards the end of this period, 
therefore, the inspecting staff under the local bodies was generally 
transferred to the provincial Education Department and their 
scales of pay were considerably improved. 

Still another problem which came to the fore in this period 
was the need to separate administration* from supervision. Until 
then, the inspecting officers were charged, not only with the duties 
of supervision proper, but also with all the duties of administra- 
tion. For instance, they had to recruit and appoint teachers, 
arrange for their postings and transfers, enquire into complaints 
against them, take disciplinary action where necessary and award 
promotions. They had to look after the construction and main- 
tenance of buildings, and purchase and supply of school equipment. 
They also audited the school accounts and, in case of private 
schools, calculated the amounts of grant-in-aid due. This heavy 
burden of administrative work consumed most of the time of the 
inspecting staff. Next in order of importance came their responsi- 
bility of holding examinations in elementary schools and this was 
an extremely time-consuming job as each pupil had to be examined 
m each subject. Consequently, the time available for inspection 
proper and guidance to teachers was extremely limited, and, in 
niany cases, these functions were just not performed. Proposals, 
therefore, began to be put forward to the effect that administration 



35 8 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


should be separated from supervision and that the work of holding 
examinations in elementary schools should be entrusted to the 
teachers themselves. These reforms could not, however, be carried 
out during the period under review. 

Developments between 1917 and 1947 

During the next 30 years, there was an improvement in some 
directions but most of these problems remained unsolved. 

During the earlier period, the proportion of graduates who 
worked as inspecting officers of elementary schools was very small 
and the number of trained graduates was smaller still. A large 
proportion of the posts of inspecting officers was, therefore, held by 
senior and experienced elementary teachers who were considered 
worthy of promotion. During this period, however, the large 
majority of inspecting officers were trained graduates: in some 
states, these posts could be held only by trained graduates while 
in others, a certain proportion of them was reserved for elementary 
teachers. Consequently, the scales of pay and allowances of the 
posts had also to be correspondingly upgraded. This improvement 
in remuneration and status brought about some improvement in 
the quality of the work done. 

The actual position of the inspecting staff in 1946-47 is shown 
below : 


Slate Designation 

Assam Assistant Inspectors 

Deputy Inspectors 
Sub-Inspectors 
Assistant Sub-Inspectors 

Bengal District Inspectors 

Sub-Divisional Inspectors 
Sub-Inspectors 

Bihar District Inspectors 

Deputy Inspectors 
Sub-Inspectors 


No. of Posts 

Scale of Pay 

TJc 

3 

175-425 

21 

150-350 

61 

75-175 

39 

40-70 

27 

150 700 

37 

130-220 

267 

75-175 

16 

200-700 

41 

128-200 

202 

(a) 128-200 


(b) 65-105 



170-500 

70-200 

45-175 

45-145 

40-135 

40-100 


Bombay 


Deputy Educational Inspectors 
Assistant Deputy Educational Inspectors 


20 

245 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 


359 


State Designation No. of Posts Scale of Pay 





Rs. 

C. P. & 

District Inspectors 

19 

200-500 

Berar 

Assistant District Inspectors 

(a) 3 

175-200 



(b) 67 

70-4-150 

Madras 

District Educational Officers 

28 

200-700 


Deputy Inspectors (Senior Grade) 

224 

85-175; 

165-245 


Deputy Inspectors (Junior Grade) 

171 

60-120 

Orissa 

Deputy Inspectors 

6 

128-200 


Sub- Inspectors 

74 

(a) 65-105 

(b) 122-200 

Punjab 

Deputy Inspectors 

9 

250-725 


Assistant District Inspectors 

153 

90-150; 

150-220; 

230-300 

U.P. 

Deputy Inspectors of Schools 

49 

80-360 


Sub-Deputy Inspectors of Schools 

(a) 118 

80-300 



(b) 150 

70-180 


Besides there was a fair number of women inspecting officers 
for girls' elementary schools. 

To what extent did the quality of the work done by inspecting 
officers improve during this period? The answer is not easy to 
give because of both favourable and unfavourable developments. 
The favourable developments included : (i) the increase in the 

number of inspecting officers ; (ii) the improvement in their remu- 
neration and qualifications ; (Hi) the development of better means 
of communication ; and (iv) the delegation of authority to the 
schools to hold the annual examinations of their pupils. This last 
reform was perhaps the most salutary as it freed a good deal of the 
time of inspecting officers and enabled them to devote more atten- 
tion to the work of supervision proper. On the other hand, the 
unfavourable developments included : (i) the opening of elementary 
schools in more remote areas which were difficult of access ; 
(H) the general tightening of administrative routines which resulted 
in an increase in the paper work of each officer ; and (Hi) the large 
expansion of elementary education which outstripped the increase 
in the number of inspecting officers. The overall picture was thus 
a mixture of light and shade and the net gains, if any, were slight. 

It may also be pointed out that the increase in the emoluments 
of inspecting officers had not been adequate and that it did not 
attract the right type of persons to the profession. For instance, it 



3 6 ° 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 


361 


was reported in 1946-47 that the pay and prospects offered to 
persons of ability were far higher in other branches of government 
service and that men and women with high qualifications were not 
attracted even to the higher posts in educational service in sufficient 
numbers. The position of recruitment to the lower ranks of the 
inspectorate was naturally even worse. The Directorate of Educa- 
tion repeatedly pointed out during this period, that the demands 
on the inspectorate had increased very greatly, that their salaries 
had not increased in proportion, and that this deteriorating 
situation was fraught with grave consequences to the future of 
education.* But, by and large, these warnings went unheeded. 

In this context, a major deficiency in the system began 
to attract attention, viz,, the absence of any provision for pre- 
service or in-service training of inspecting officers. So far the 
general assumption had been that a good teacher could easily act 
as an inspecting officer without any specialized or formal training. 
Trained graduates with some experience of teaching were, there- 
fore, recruited as inspecting officers and allowed to learn their new 
job in a rule-of-thumb manner under the guidance of his senior 
officers. It was soon realised, however, that an inspecting officer 
must have certain special skills and capacities to discharge his 
responsibilities satisfactorily. For instance, he must have a good 
knowledge of educational legislation and the relevant orders of the 
Government and the Education Department. He must be able to 
work with teachers, to secure their cooperation and confidence, and 
to impart to them the desire and the know-how for improving 
educational standards. He must be able to work with groups of 
village people and guide them to take a greater interest in their 
local schools and in the education and welfare of their children. 
He must also learn the difficult art of evaluating the work of 
teachers. It is true that these skills could be learnt through 
practical experience ; but it would certainly be better to impart 
them through special organized courses of pre-service or in-service 
education. During this period, some of the provinces instituted 
departmental examinations which inspecting officers had to pass 
before confirmation. But no steps were taken anywhere for 
providing the special training needed by them. 

* Decennial Review of Education: 1937-47. Vo1 - P* 33 - 


As a result of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report of 1918, local 
bodies were largely democratized during this period and the ad- 
ministration of elementary education was transferred to them, with 
very few restrictions, in all the provinces of British India. This 
reform affected the position of the inspecting staff very consider- 
ably. In some states, the principle adopted was to combine 
administration and supervision in a single agency and consequently, 
the inspecting staff also was transferred to the local bodies. In 
other provinces, it was decided to separate ‘administration’ from 
‘supervision’ ; and while some part of the inspecting staff was trans- 
ferred to the local bodies for the purpose of administration, another 
part was retained with the state government for the purposes of 
supervision. Unfortunately, neither of these systems worked satis- 
factorily. When the entire inspecting staff was transferred to local 
bodies, as under the Bombay Primary Education Act of 1923, the 
Department had no officers through whom the work of the local 
bodies could be supervised. Besides, the independence which the 
inspecting staff enjoyed earlier as officers of the state government 
was now lost and some of them were even drawn into the vortex of 
local politics. When administration was separated from super- 
vision and the local bodies were allowed to have their own staff for 
administration (which functioned side by side with the inspecting 
staff of the Education Department), as under the Bombay Primary 
Education (Amendment) Act, 1938, there was an increase in the 
overall expenditure due to some unavoidable overlap. Moreover, 
as the inspecting staff had no direct authority to enforce their 
suggestions, the inspection of schools very often became a sterile 
affair and the suggestions made by the inspecting officers were 
mostly ignored by the local bodies. 


Post-independence Period 

During the post-independence period, there have been two 
significant gains. The first is a large increase in the inspecting 
staff for elementary schools. The standard now adopted is that 
there should be an inspecting officer for about 50 elementary schools 
or about 150 teachers or about 5,000 students. It is true that it 
has not always been possible to provide inspecting staff on this basis 
and that the actual work-load of a large proportion of inspecting 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 363 


362 

officers is higher than this accepted norm. But by and large, the 
number of schools allocated to an inspecting officer at present is 
much smaller than what it was in 1946-47. Besides, the number 
of women inspecting officers has increased considerably during the 
last 14 years, although the overall position is not yet satisfactory. 
The scales of pay of the inspecting officers have also been improved 
and there is generally no discrimination between the remuneration 
offered to inspecting officers in the Education Departments and that 
offered to officers of other departments with similar responsibilities 
and qualifications. The total expenditure on direction and inspec- 
tion has, therefore, increased from Rs. 18.2 million in 1946-47 to 
Rs. 69.0 million in 1960-61. 

In spite of these gains, the problems and difficulties of 
the earlier period still continue to dominate the scene. There has 
been an unprecedented expansion in all sectors of education in- 
cluding elementary. Consequently, the average load of an inspect- 
ing officer still continues to be heavy in spite of the large increase 
in their numbers. In fact, the position may even be said to have 
deteriorated to some extent. In 1960-61, the proportion of expendi- 
ture on direction and inspection to total educational expenditure 
in India was only 2.1 per cent as against 3.2 per cent in 1946-47. 
The situation in some states was even worse. For instance, the 
percentage of the total expenditure on direction and inspection to 
total educational expenditure in West Bengal was as low as 1.0 per 
cent in 1960-61. The standard now accepted is that the expendi- 
ture on direction and inspection should be about 5 per cent of the 
total educational expenditure. From this point of view, it appears 
that the existing strength and scale of remuneration of the inspect- 
ing staff is far too inadequate. 

It is not only this inadequacy of numbers or remuneration that 
is causing anxiety. The status of inspecting officers has also under- 
gone some changes which are adversely affecting their morale. In 
states where the Panchayati Raj Institutions have been authorised 
to administer elementary and/or secondary education, the inspect- 
ing staff has often been transferred to local control on deputation 
terms. In Maharashtra, for instance, all inspecting staff at the 
district level and below (this includes gazetted officers of class I 
and II as well as subordinate inspecting staff) has been transferred 


to the Zilla Parishads. In Rajasthan, the sub-inspector of primary 
schools has been made a member of the block team and placed 
under the direct control of the Block Development Officer. In 
Andhra Pradesh, the inspecting officers for primary schools have 
been placed under the direct control of the Block Development 
Officer as in Rajasthan. In addition, an officer at the district level 
has also been placed at the disposal of the Zilla Parishads which 
look after middle and secondary schools. In all such cases, the 
inspecting staff has to function under the joint control of the 
Panchayat Samitis and Zilla Parishads on the one hand and the 
Education Department on the other. This is not a very happy 
position. 

Similarly, no satisfactory arrangements have yet been evolved 
for the pre-service and in-service training of inspecting officers, 
although there has been a greater awareness of the problem and 
some ad hoc measures have been adopted to improve the situation. 
A few universities provide brief courses in inspection and super- 
vision in their B.Ed. or M.Ed. syllabi. But both the content of 
these courses and their teaching leave much to be desired. In view 
of the adoption of basic education as the national pattern at the 
elementary stage, the need to orientate the inspecting officers to 
basic education was keenly felt ; and accordingly, steps were taken 
in most areas to orientate all inspecting officers to basic education 
through short courses. Special training institutions which provide 
a one-year course in basic education to graduates have been estab- 
lished and they prepare, not only teacher educators, but inspecting 
officers for elementary and basic schools as well. The practice of 
holding conferences and seminars of inspecting officers has also 
become more common and serves a very useful purpose. While 
these developments are welcome, it is obvious that they cannot be 
a substitute to regular institutionalised programmes of pre-service 
or in-service training for inspecting staff. This is a major problem 
whose solution has still to be attempted. 

Major Problems 

It will be seen from the foregoing review that a few basic 
problems have been dogging the footsteps of the inspectorate in 
India right from its very inception. The first is the inadequacy 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 365 


3 6 4 

of numbers. During the last hundred years, the expansion of the 
inspectorate has never been able to keep pace with the growth in 
the number of elementary schools, pupils or teachers. Consequent- 
ly, the average work load of an inspecting officer has always been 
very heavy and much above the desirable standards which have 
been accepted in this regard from time to time. Secondly, the 
remuneration offered to the inspecting staff, particularly at the 
elementary level, has been comparatively meagre and has g en e f a y 
not been adequate enough to attract the best talent . aval a e. 
There has no doubt been some improvement in this respect, 
especially in the post-independence period ; but the problem cannot 
be said to have been satisfactorily solved even now. Thirdly, the 
status of the inspecting staff, particularly with reference to the ad- 
ministration of elementary education by local bodies has not been 
defined. Fourthly, the quality of inspection has always left a good 
deal to be desired. This has been due to a number of factors, the 
most important of which are two: (1) excessive load of work on, 
and (2) lack of proper pre-service and in-service training to, the 
inspecting staff. In the early days, inspection had a strong ‘police’ 
character. The modern concept of the inspecting officer as a 
‘friend, philosopher and guide’ of the teacher came to be accepted 
in theory early in the present century. But it has not yet been 
adequately translated into practice and it would be no exaggera- 
tion to say that, even today, the inspection of an elementary school 
has retained a good deal of its traditional police character and has 
not yet imbibed the new concept adequately. It is to the solution 
of these major problems that attention will have to be directed 
during the next 10 or 15 years. 

Bombay Study 

It is to be regretted that there is very little research in problems 
of inspection and supervision of elementary schools. The only 
known investigation on the subject is that conducted by the o 
Bombay State in five districts of Kolhapur, Kaira, Ahmedabad, 
Baroda and North Satara. The object of this study was to find 
out the total work-load of inspecting officers of elementary schools, 
the manner in which their total available time is utilized at present 
and the main difficulties which prevent their efficient functioning. 


For this purpose, the problems involved were discussed with the 
inspecting officers in all the five districts. They were also required 
to maintain an hour-to-hour diary of their daily work spread over 
three months. On the basis of the data so collected, a final report 
on the problems facing the inspecting officers of elementary schools 
was prepared. Its main findings have been given below: 

(1) The work load of an inspecting officer varied considerably. 
The number of schools allocated to each inspecting officer varied 
from 44 in one district to 112 in another. The large variations 
were due, partly to non-rationalization of staff and partly to a pro- 
portion of the sanctioned posts remaining unfilled for some reason 
or the other. Similarly, the number of teachers allocated to each 
inspecting officer varied from 94 in one district to 198 in another. 
The consensus of opinion of all the inspecting officers was that an 
optimum work-load of an inspecting officer in conditions obtain- 
ing today would be about 40 schools or 100 teachers. Judged 
on the basis of this criterion, most of the inspecting officers are 
over-worked. 

(2) The total number of available working days per inspecting 
officer does not ordinarily exceed 240 in a year. Out of the 365 
days in the year, each officer is entitled to 52 Sundays, 26 days in 
lieu of half holidays on 52 Saturdays, 22 public holidays, 15 days 
of casual leave and 30 days of earned leave. This makes a total 
of 145 days and leaves only about 220 working days. In practice, 
however, it was found that, on an average, not all the inspecting 
officers took full advantage of the leave facilities available to them 
and the average number of working days per officer came to about 
240 in a year. The actual variations were from 194 to 293 days. 

(3) On an average, each inspecting officer has to spend 180 days 
in a year on tour and make 150 night halts outside headquarters. 
This is a very heavy touring responsibility and it is one of the major 
reasons which discourages persons from accepting the job. 

(4) An inspecting officer has to work, on an average, for 3,336 
hours per year. On the assumption of 240 working days in the year, 
this comes to about 13.9 hours of work per day. This is almost 
an impossible load to carry. In practice, therefore, the inspecting 
officers are frequently required to work on holidays, to forego leave 
which is due to them, and to utilize all Saturdays as full working 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 367 


366 

days. Even with these adjustments, the load of work per day is 
about 10 hours at the minimum. 

(5) On an average, each inspecting officer has to tour about 
3,079 m il es P er year, the variations being from 2,835 miles a year 
in one case to 3,624 miles a year in another. This travelling is 
to be done throughout the year disregarding heat, rain, cold and 
other difficulties. In visiting remote villages, he is very often re- 
quired to perform the journeys on foot. It was found that, on an 
average, an inspecting officer travelled about 827 miles a year by 
rail, about 1,021 miles a year by bus and 1,231 miles a year on 
foot. The bus journeys are usually very tiring and inconvenient. 
It is the difficulties of this travel that dissuade several people from 
joining the profession. Women are particularly unwilling to 
accept jobs with such heavy travelling responsibility. 

(6) In places which the inspecting officer visits, he has to face 
great difficulties in securing decent accommodation to stay in. 
Very often, even food is not available except in the house of the 
teacher. This absence of essential creature comforts is another 
major trouble. 

(7) The work of the inspecting officers could be divided into 
four main groups: (a) supervision proper ; ( b ) unavoidable paper 
work of an administrative character ; (c) administrative work ; and 
(d) time spent in journeys. It was found that the actual alloca- 
tion of time between these different categories of work was as shown 
below : 


Item of Work 

Hours of work per day 
on the assumption of 
240 working days 
in^a year 

Percentage 
to total 
work 

Supervision proper 

6.3 hours 

45 per cent 

Paper work connected with official routine 

3.5 „ 

25 ,, ,, 

Administrative work 

2.1 „ 

15 ,, j? 

Time spent in journeys 

2.1 „ 

15 ,, 


It will be seen that supervision proper took about 6 hours 
a day ; but it accounted only for 45 per cent of the total load of 


work. Under proper conditions, this alone should occupy about 
80 per cent of the time of the inspecting officer. In the present 
situation, a very large part of the time is taken up by paper work 
such as compilation of returns, replying to references, filling in 
prescribed proformas, maintenance of prescribed registers, pre- 
paring copies of inspection reports and other documents, etc. 
This takes about 25 per cent of the time. In fact, if some clerical 
assistance could be made available to the inspecting officers, the 
time which they now waste on administrative or mechanical work 
could be utilized for supervision proper. In the same way, a good 
deal of time was taken up by administrative work such as enquiries 
or checking up of accounts and an equal time was needed for mere 
travel from one place to another. 

(8) The supervising officers found very little time for guiding 
teachers and for providing them with some form of in-service 
education. For instance, an inspecting officer spent only 24 hours 
per year in group conferences of teachers and only about 25 hours 
per year in professional guidance to them. 

On the whole, the picture that emerged from the study was 
that the inspecting officer has to work under very difficult condi- 
tions. He is over-burdened with administrative and paper work 
and has very little time to look after the work of supervision proper 
which, by and large, gets neglected. 

General Educational and Professional Training 

Of the different problems which arise in the supervision of 
elementary schools, the problems of the general education and 
professional training of supervisors or inspecting officers are perhaps 
the most important. At present, it is generally agreed that the 
inspecting officer of an elementary school should be a trained 
graduate. But what kind of a training should be given to him? 
The average supervisor of today has undergone the B.T., L.T., or 
B.Ed., course which qualifies him as a trained teacher and entitles 
him to become an inspecting officer. But a study of the contents 
of the course for B.T., L.T., or B.Ed., examinations will show that 
they have been designed, by and large, for secondary schools and 
that they do not equip a person adequately, either for teaching in 
elementary schools or for supervising them. A person can get the 



3 68 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 369 


B.T. degree without putting his foot inside an elementary school 
and without having any idea of the problems of elementary educa- 
tion. It is here that the greatest weakness of the present system 
lies. What is needed is a training course which will prepare the 
graduate to be a good teacher for an elementary school and which 
will acquaint him with the problems of elementary education. 
Such a course does not exist in any university or State Department 
of Education. It is true that the training courses in basic educa- 
tion which are conducted by the Post-graduate Training Colleges 
give an orientation to the scheme of basic education and some 
practical training in craft-work. But they do not lay adequate 
emphasis on the methods of teaching the basic school subjects such 
as language, arithmetic and science at the elementary stage. The 
objective of providing good professional training for supervisors of 
elementary schools can be secured in two ways: (1) We may 

provide a pre-service training of one year specially oriented to 
teaching in elementary schools and problems of elementary educa- 
tion ; or (2) we may provide an intensive in-service course of about 
three months to all persons who have been selected as supervisors 
of elementary schools and follow it up by a regular programme of 
further in-service training at specified intervals. It is a happy 
augury for the future that the need for such training has been ac- 
cepted and that provision for it would be made in the proposed 
State Institutes of Education which will orientate all supervisors 
of elementary schools to their jobs and, in addition, will provide 
them in-service training for approximately three months in every 
five years of service. With the initiation of this programme, it is 
hoped that the professional competence of supervisors would be 
considerably increased. 

Service Conditions 

Another important problem is to improve the service condi- 
tions under which inspecting officers have to work. A reference has 
already been made to the difficulties involved in the heavy touring 
programme which they have to undertake at present. If vehicles 
could be provided to all inspecting officers, these difficulties would 
be greatly minimised. But this solution is ruled out on financial 
and other considerations. The only way to improve the position 


to some extent, therefore, is to reduce the number of schools 
allocated to each supervising officer. In areas where means of com- 
munication are not developed and where most of the journeys have 
to be done on foot, the number of schools allocated to an inspecting 
officer should be smaller still. An increase in the conveyance 
allowance paid to inspecting officers would enable them to hire 
country transport on more occasions than they can at present and to 
command a higher level of creature comforts while on tour. Im- 
provements of this type will not be financially prohibitive ; but they 
will add considerably to the comfort and efficiency of the officers and 
enhance the quality of their work. 

Reference has also been made to the large amount of paper 
work which inspecting officers are now called upon to do. This 
problem will have to be carefully studied and ways and means 
would have to be devised to reduce it to the minimum. In the 
present system of administration, paper work has an inherent 
tendency to increase and unless special care is taken to see that 
the supervising officer does not degenerate into a glorified clerk, 
the situation will not improve. The general principle is that the 
largest time of the supervising officer should be left free for meeting 
teachers, parents and the pupils and that his paper work should 
be so reduced as to require not more than half to one hour per 
day. This is not impossible of achievement if the authorities were 
to pay their concerted attention to it. 

The immense amount of time consumed by purely administra- 
tive work needs special notice. At present, a large number of 
purely administrative functions have been entrusted to supervising 
officers. The study in Bombay referred to earlier showed that these 
include (1) grant calculations, (2) enquiries, (3) confidential reports 
on the work of teachers, (4) audit of accounts, (5) checking up 
of the dead-stock registers maintained in schools, (6) submission 
of a large set of periodical returns, statistical or otherwise, and 
(7) making proposals to higher authorities on a large number of 
problems such as transfers and postings of teachers, opening of new 
schools, etc. 

The system in England under which the Education Officers 
of the County Councils look after administrative work (along with 
some supervision) while Her Majesty’s Inspectors look purely after 

24 



37 ° 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 


371 


supervision work may be regarded as a model in this regard. At 
present, every inspecting officer is also an administrative officer of 
some sort. It is worth consideration whether an alternative arrange- 
ment in which some officers will be set aside mainly for administra- 
tive work and others for supervision proper would not be in the 
larger interests of educational development. Madras has now 
adopted a system which almost resembles this pattern. In each 
Community Development Block, the post of the Social Education 
Organiser is converted into that of an Education Officer who looks 
after all the administrative work of elementary schools. The 
Inspecting Officers continue to be directly under the Department 
and are responsible for supervision proper. It is rather early to 
pronounce any definite opinion on this experiment ; but it has a 
great promise of success. 

It is necessary to provide for interchangeability between super- 
vising officers of elementary schools and the staff of training insti- 
tutions for elementary teachers. The w r ork of a supervisor is very 
taxing and involves arduous touring responsibilities. Persons 
working as supervisors, therefore, get tired of the work in 3 to 5 
years and expect to have a stationary and easier life for some time 
at least. If the cadre of the supervising officers is made inter- 
changeable with that of teacher educators, it will be possible to 
post an officer as a supervisor of elementary schools for a period 
of 3 to 5 years, then to post him in a training institution for 
elementary teachers for another period of 3 to 5 years and again 
to send him out as an inspecting officer for a further stretch. Such 
an interchangeability will have the further advantage that super- 
vising officers would become good teacher educators through their 
practical experience of the field. The teacher educators in their 
turn, would improve their efficiency through direct contact with 
the schools and by meeting and watching their own students at 
work. 

An essential condition for such interchangeability is that the 
scale of pay for inspecting officers should be the same as for teacher 
educators. This is not always so. Wherever the scale of pay for 
teacher educators is higher, it is suggested that a selection grade 
may be given to supervising officers which should be on a par with 
the scale of pay given to teacher educators. Such an arrangement 


would make it possible to interchange the best supervising officers 
with teacher educators. Another problem which often arises in 
such an arrangement is that it is the weaker inspecting officers that 
get generally transferred to training schools. Whenever there is 
a complaint or difficulty about any supervising officer, the line of 
least resistance is to transfer him to the innocuous post of a teacher 
educator in a training institution for elementary teachers. Such a 
tendency should be strongly discouraged and an effort should be 
made to see that the best inspecting officers alone are inter-changed 
with teacher educators. 

The scale of pay of supervising officers will have to be improved 
still further in most states, partly with a view to attract a better 
type of person and partly with a view to compensate for the arduous 
duties which the supervisors have to shoulder. 

The problem of the status of the supervising officers is also very 
important. The vexed question whether the supervising officer 
should be an employee of the local authority or of the State Govern- 
ment and whether he should work directly under the Department 
or under the local body, or under the joint control of both, has 
to be solved finally at an early date. It is suggested that the best 
results would be obtained by giving the status of an officer of the 
state government to the supervising officer and by placing him 
directly under the control of one master, viz., the State Education 
Department. This solution need not necessarily conflict with the 
transfer of the administration of elementary education to the 
Panchayati Raj Institutions. As stated above, Madras has been 
able to retain the supervising officer as a Government servant 
working directly under the Education Department in spite of the 
transfer of the administration of elementary education to the 
Panchayat Unions. The same or a similar solution can be tried 
out in other areas also. 

One more point needs attention in this context. Promotion 
as a supervising officer should be open to competent and experi- 
enced elementary teachers. This is not always so at present. In 
states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, 35 per cent of the posts of 
supervising officers are reserved for elementary teachers on promo- 
tion. But in most other states, an elementary teacher cannot look 
forward to be a supervising officer unless he first becomes a graduate 



37 * 


373 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

through private study. Some elementary teachers are extremely 
competent and would make invaluable supervising officers. It 
would, therefore, be advantageous to universalize the practice of 
Maharashtra and Gujarat and to reserve a certain percentage of 
posts of supervising officers for extremely competent and experienced 
elementary teachers. 

Inter-state Contacts and Studies 

It is very essential for supervising officers to know, not only 
the system of supervision of elementary education in their own 
state, but also have some knowledge of the system of elementary 
education and supervisory practices in other states of India. For 
this purpose, opportunities will have to be provided to supervising 
officers to pay visits to other states and to come in contact with 
supervising officers in different parts of the country. This is 
essentially a responsibility of the Federal Government who should, 
through appropriate agencies like the National Council of Educa- 
tional Research and Training, organize seminars and refresher 
courses for supervising officers on a regional or inter-state basis and 
also arrange for conducted tours of supervising officers from one 
state to another to study specific developments and projects. 

Problems of Research 

It is also essential to promote research in supervision and 
inspection. Apart from investigations into existing supervisory 
practices, conducted with a view to improving conditions of work 
of supervising officers, research will have to be conducted in devising 
proper evaluating criteria for the supervision of elementary schools. 
At present, the work of supervision is conducted more or less in a 
rule-of-thumb manner and inspection still smacks strongly of 
a police character. If it is to be raised to the level of scientific 
and democratic supervision, we shall have to undertake research 
into methods of working with teachers, evaluation of their work, 
evaluation of schools as functional entities in the communities 
where they are located, etc. These are problems to which the 
National Council of Educational Research and Training and the 
proposed State Institutes of Education would have to devote a good 
deal of their time. 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

An Alternative System 

It may be worthwhile to examine the possibility and the desir- 
ability of adopting an alternative system of supervision which 
obtains in some countries of the world. The organization of super- 
vision in India is based on the assumption that a cadre of whole- 
time supervisory officers will evaluate the work of elementary 
schools and teachers. An alternative arrangement would be to 
divide the elementary schools into suitable groups, each group con- 
sisting of 10-15 schools within a distance of 5 to 7 miles from a central 
school. The headmaster of the central school should be desig- 
nated as the teacher-supervisor. He will have two responsibilities: 

(1) to conduct his own school as a model institution ; and (2) to 
act as supervisor for neighbouring schools within a distance of 5 to 7 
miles which would be assigned to his group. The state cadre of 
supervisors would still be there ) but it would be much smaller. 
These supervisors will not inspect every school — this would be the 
responsibility of teacher-supervisors — and their responsibilities 
would be restricted to (1) supervision of the central school and 

(2) looking into certain matters which may be beyond the authority 
of the teacher-supervisors of the central schools. 

This decentralized pattern of supervision has certain obvious 
advantages. It will bring the supervisor much closer to the schools 
than he is at present ; and if the teacher-supervisors of central 
schools could be trained graduates, it would help materially in raising 
standards. On the other hand, it may be a little costly, and the 
combination of teaching and supervision may not always be very 
helpful. All the same, such an arrangement is worthy of notice 
and deserves closer scrutiny. It may even be adopted on an experi- 
mental basis in a few areas and generalised if the results are 
satisfactory. 

General Conclusions 

Two important points have to be remembered in organizing 
supervision for elementary schools and in improving its quality. 
The first is that the responsibilities of a supervising agency in India 
are far greater than those of similar agencies in other countries 
where a number of official and non-official agencies are at work to 
improve the standards of education. For instance, in the advanced 



374 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SUPERVISION OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 


375 


countries of the West, elementary teachers are highly qualified and 
have received good general education and excellent professional 
training. A good deal of educational literature is readily available 
and it enables the teachers to improve themselves. Organiza- 
tions of teachers are active and conduct a large number of in-service 
training programmes for raising professional standards. Besides, 
programmes of in-service training and extension are regularly 
organized on a fairly large scale through well-established institu- 
tions. Against such a background, the task of the supervisor 
obviously becomes less onerous. In India, on the other hand, such 
agencies of assistance to the teacher to improve his professional com- 
petence either do not exist or are still in their infancy. The Indian 
supervisor, therefore, has to take over all the residual responsibility 
for assisting the teacher to improve his competence. This is 
obviously a far more difficult and onerous task. 

The second point to be remembered is that, with the broaden- 
ing of the concept of elementary education, the responsibilities of 
the supervisors have increased manifold. About 100 years ago, 
the supervisor of elementary schools was concerned only with the 
elementary teachers or their pupils and he had only to see that the 
school performed the simple function of imparting literacy. Today, 
the concept of elementary education has become much broader and 
we are educating children, not merely for literacy, but as useful 
and responsible citizens in a democratic and socialistic society. *!■ he 
supervisor is now concerned, not only with elementary school pupils 
and teachers, but also with the leaders of the local community. 
He is to help in making the school a community centre. This has 
two implications. On the one hand, the school has to develop a 
programme of instruction which will assist the community to 
improve its standard of living ; and on the other hand, the com- 
munity itself has to be educated to take a greater interest in the 
school and to provide more generously for its support. The super- 
visor is required, not only to look after mere instruction in the 
classroom, but also to look after such programmes as liquidation 
of adult illiteracy, out-of-school youth activities, development, of 
reading rooms and libraries, and the provision of ancillary services 
like school health, mid-day meals or free supply of uniforms, 
textbooks and writing materials. All in all, the supervisor now is 


responsible, not for imparting literacy to a few children in the local 
community, but for the education of the community as a whole, 
for integrating the school with its environment, and for develop- 
ing a comprehensive programme of health (including school meals) 
and education for all the children in the community. 

If these wider responsibilities are to be properly attended to, 
we must try to obtain a better type of person to work as a supervisor 
and train him or her properly to do his or her job. This implies 
an improvement in the scales of pay, status and service conditions 
of supervisory officers and also the provision of a comprehensive 
programme of pre-service and in-service training. It is on these 
problems that attention will have to be focussed in the immediate 
future ; and it is largely on their solution that the success of the 
programme of raising standards in elementary education will 
ultimately depend. 



ANCILLARY SERVICES 


377 


CHAPTER 18 

Ancillary Services 

If the education given in an elementary school is to be fully 
effective, it is not enough to provide teachers, buildings and equip- 
ment and school supervisors and to design curricula and teaching 
methods. These programmes will have to be supplemented by 
certain ancillary services whose primary objective is to help the 
children to benefit better from the instruction provided in the 
schools. They include (i) medical inspection and treatment or 
health services, (2) provision of school meals, (3) free supply of text- 
books and writing materials, and (4) provision of school uniforms. 
The growth of these services in India, their present position and the 
broad lines of their development in the near future would be briefly 
discussed in this chapter. 

I. Health Services 

A proper attention to the health and physical well-being of the 
pupil is as important as the development of his intellectual powers. 
The two, in fact, are inter-dependent, and intellectual development 
is hardly possible if the health and physical development of the 
child are neglected. This is particularly so in the age-group 6-14 
when children are exposed to several dangers to their health and 
are undergoing developmental changes which call for watchful care. 
It is also in this stage that the foundations of future health and 
well-being are laid. While, therefore, the provision of adequate 
health services is important at all stages of education, it assumes 
very great significance at the elementary stage. 

The provision of health services in the elementary schools of 
India is still in its infancy. Attention to its need was first drawn 
only in the beginning of the present century and Baroda was the 
first to introduce a scheme of school medical inspection in 1909. 
In the next 15 years, almost every province of British India made 
some effort to provide school health service. The usual pattern 


adopted was to appoint a few doctors, with the necessary assisting 
staff, to carry out medical inspection of the school children in select- 
ed areas. Some arrangements for treatment were made in most 
cases ; but by and large, these were not satisfactory. There was 
hardly any provision for preventive work and follow-up service. 
Unfortunately, even these modest attempts were not pursued 
further and when the need for economy arose, they were the first 
to fall to retrenchment. In large urban corporations like Bombay 
or Madras, however, resources in medical personnel, hospital and 
dispensary facilities and funds were available. In these areas, 
therefore, a fairly adequate health service for the children of 
elementary schools was developed as a part of the general health 
service which these corporations provided to their community. 
Barring these few exceptions, school health services may be said 
to have made little or no progress in the country prior to 1947. 

Greater attention has been paid to the provision of school 
health services in the post-independence period and a few states 
have set up school health services but they are largely confined to 
urban areas. Most of them, as in the attempts made in the earlier 
period, look after medical inspection only and facilities for treat- 
ment are not generally adequate. In the rural areas, the provision 
of school health services has been made a responsibility of the 
primary health centres which are now being established in the 
community development blocks. Hedged in as they are with 
difficulties in getting trained personnel in adequate number, the 
primary health centres generally are able to handle only medical 
inspection of children at the headquarters of the centres and 
adequate follow-up work has yet to develop on a large scale. It 
may, therefore, be said that, even today, excepting in the big cities, 
provision for health services on an adequate scale has yet to be 
made for children attending elementary schools, particularly in the 
rural areas. 

The problem was examined in detail by the School Health 
Committee appointed by the Government of India sometime ago 
under the chairmanship of Smt. Renuka Ray, M.P. The Report 
of the Committee is a valuable document which suggests a practic- 
able programme for the development of school health services. 
While agreeing that all children should ultimately be examined 



378 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


ANCILLARY SERVICES 


379 


medically and treated to the extent necessary, the Committee 
recommended that, in view of the shortage of medical personnel 
and financial resources, attention should be concentrated on the 
age-group 6-11 which is a very vulnerable and important stage in 
the life of the child. In the urban areas, the provision of health 
services is comparatively easy. The general health services to the 
community, which provide the basic structure on which alone 
school health services can be planned, are better developed ; and 
medical personnel are more easily available. In the rural areas, 
however, the situation is very different. Here the basic difficulty 
is the lack of adequate provision of health services to the com- 
munity itself. The establishment of a primary health centre in 
each Community Development Block is an attempt to rectify 
this general deficiency. The Committee, therefore, recommend- 
ed that the provision of health services in rural elementary 
schools should be built around the primary health centre. It 
suggested that the staff of each primary health centre should 
be immediately strengthened by the addition of an auxiliary nurse- 
midwife and that its contingent grant should be increased in order 
to enable the doctor in-charge to provide health services (including 
medical inspection and treatment) to about 2,000 children in the 
primary schools in close proximity to the centre. The Committee 
estimated that this modest scheme would provide health services 
to about 44 per cent of the children of school going age in rural 
areas and that its cost during the Third Five-Year Plan period 
would come to about Rs. 40 million. The Committee further 
recommended that the scheme should be expanded in the Fourth 
Plan period by the addition of one medical officer and three 
auxiliary nurse-midwives to the staff of each primary health centre. 
This would make it possible for the Centre to provide health 
services to all children in the age-group 6-11 in the C.D. Block 
concerned. The cost of this phase was estimated at Rs. 140 million 
for the Fourth Plan period. According to the recommendations 
made by the Committee, therefore, the provision of health services 
to all children in the age-group 6-11 should be the first priority in 
the programme and should be implemented in two stages. In the 
first stage, the urban areas and villages in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the primary health centres would be covered ; and in the 


second stage, all children in the age-group 6-11, both in urban and 
rural areas, would be brought under the scheme. 

The programme suggested by the Committee is obviously 
modest and eminently practicable and realistic. It is to be hoped 
that it will be possible to put across this programme during the 
next seven years. 

II. School Meals 

Even more important than medical inspection and treatment 
is the need to provide school meals. Malnutrition is the prime 
factor in the erosion of health. The diet surveys carried out in the 
country by the Indian Council of Medical Research since 1935 have 
shown that the average diet of an Indian is unbalanced, partly 
because of its lack of adequate quantities of proteins, vitamins, fats 
and minerals. About two-thirds of the families do not consume 
any fruits or nuts ; about one-third of the families do not consume 
sugar, jaggery or meat, fish or fresh fruits ; and about one-fourth 
of them do not consume milk and milk products or leafy vegetables. 
In about four-fifths of the families surveyed, the intake of protective 
foods was either nil or below standard. It is thus evident that 
under-nutrition and malnutrition exist widely in our country and 
that young children are, therefore, particularly liable to diseases 
arising from them. 

The medical inspections of school children which have been 
carried out in several parts of the country have shown that sickness 
and mortality rates of children in India are among the highest in 
the world and that the proportion of children suffering from mal- 
nutrition and other preventable causes are distressingly high. The 
Indian Council of Medical Research and the World Health Organi- 
zation recently surveyed several states in South India and found 
that 2 per cent of the children belonging to the poorer socio- 
economic groups suffered from ‘frank’ signs of deficiency. If it is 
assumed that for every case of ‘frank’ signs there are probably 
10 children on the border line of malnutrition, the magnitude of 
the problem becomes colossal. In Baroda, a survey of 32,500 
children carried out in 1959-60 showed that over 26,000 had some 
kind of defect or the other. A survey carried out in Calcutta in 



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1954 showed that 75 per cent of the children had some defect ; and 
nutritional disorders constituted the biggest deficiency (40 per cent). 
Surveys carried out in various schools in 16 districts of Uttar 
Pradesh in 1949-51 showed that, out of 6,400 boys examined, more 
than 3,700 had one or more defects. In a Delhi survey of 8,400 
children, the percentage of defective children was as high as 84. 
The results of other surveys are also similar and it may, therefore, 
be concluded that the existence of disease is very high amongst 
Indian children and that one of the most important contributory 
causes is under-nutrition or malnutrition. 

In conditions of this type, the significance of a school meal 
programme is obvious. It will assist in improving the health and 
physical development of the child. It will also play an important 
role in education because children who are better fed and healthier 
will make quicker and sounder progress in their studies. India 
will, therefore, have to develop a universal programme of school 
meals as an integral part of its programme of universal, free and 
compulsory primary education. 

Prior to 1947, a programme of school meals was not in 
operation outside the big corporation towns. The Madras Corpo- 
ration was the first in the field and inaugurated a modest 
school meal programme in 1925. The scheme, however, made 
rapid progress. The Corporation of Bombay was the next to 
follow and it introduced a scheme for providing snacks to under- 
nourished children. The Corporation of Ahmedabad and of some 
other big cities also introduced experimental schemes on a small 
scale. But, by and large, it may be said that this programme 
hardly received any attention in the pre-independence period. 

Even after independence, the school meal programme was not 
taken up on any adequate scale until 1956 when the Madras 
scheme of free school meals to poor children in elementary schools 
was launched. The main objectives of this scheme were two: 
(1) to enrol poor children who remained outside the school 
on account of poverty, and (2) to give at least one satisfactory meal 
to poor children in school. Initially the movement was purely 
voluntary and was started by contributions from the people. A 
school desiring to provide school meals constituted a committee of 
donors who collected the funds, selected the poor children who 


were to receive meals and also organized and supervised the 
preparation and serving of food. Under the dynamic leadership of 
the State Education Department, the scheme made very rapid 
progress. In 1957, the State Government stepped in with a view 
to stabilizing and expanding the scheme to all the schools in the 
State. Under a programme approved by the Government, the cost 
of a school meal was estimated at 10 nP. The local donors were 
expected to contribute 4 nP. out of this, and 6 nP. were given by 
Government as a grant-in-aid. With this assistance from the State, 
the scheme developed still further and now about 1.3 million 
children or about one-third of the total number of children 
enrolled in elementary schools, are provided with a school meal 
every day. Recently CARE has been assisting with gifts of milk 
powder, corn meal and vegetable oil. By the end of the Third 
Plan, it is expected that the number of children served by 
the school meal programme would rise to about 1.7 millions. 

It was this dynamic programme in Madras that really attracted 
national attention to the utility and significance of school meals. 
Other State Governments, therefore, took up the programme one 
after another. Kerala has organized a school meal programme 
with the assistance of CARE, which has now almost 100 per cent 
coverage at the elementary stage and provides school meals to 
about 1.8 million children every day. Andhra Pradesh provides 
school meals to about one million children and Mysore has recently 
started a programme for feeding 500,000 children. School milk is 
provided in Rajasthan (1 million children) and Punjab (500,000 
children, proposed to be increased to 1 million very shortly). All 
these programmes are assisted by CARE. 

In addition, UNICEF provides milk powder for school feeding 
programmes and under this scheme, a large-scale school feeding 
programme has been developed in Orissa. Smaller programmes 
are also in operation in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Besides, 
the Church organizations— Church World Service and Catholic 
Relief Services — also provide assistance for school feeding pro- 
grammes to individual schools and between them, they cover about 
one million children. In order to assist the development of the 
programme still further, the Government of India has approved, 
since 1962-63, a centrally sponsored scheme of grant-in-aid to 



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state governments. Under this scheme, assistance is offered to state 
governments to the extent of one-third of the total expenditure 
incurred by them on school feeding programmes (excluding the 
value of the commodities received free through CARE, UNICEF or 
similar organizations and local contributions) outside the State Plan 
ceilings. It is expected that by the end of the Third Plan, about 
10 to 12 million children would be covered by the school meals pro- 
gramme. This implies that in the country as a whole one school- 
going child out of every five will receive school meals. This is 
fairly satisfactory. But the main difficulty is that the programme 
has developed very unequally in the different parts of the country. 
What is needed is to make a fairly large-scale beginning in states 
which have not introduced it so far or are operating it on a very 
small scale, viz., Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya 
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. 

A reference may also be made to other useful programmes or 
ideas that are being developed in this sector. The Indian Council 
of Medical Research, after many years of study, has standardized 
the dietary requirements of children from birth to 21 years. These 
will be of great use in providing supplementary school meals to 
children as a part of the school feeding programme. It has also 
been found, by a comparative study of the prevailing diet with the 
standard requirements, that the major types of malnutrition en- 
countered among children are attributable to deficiencies of 
proteins, vitamins A and B complex and calcium. Besides, there 
is evidence of gross caloric under-nutrition. It has also been found 
that the nutritional deficiencies vary from region to region. Consi- 
derable research work has, therefore, been done by the Nutrition 
Research Laboratories of the Indian Council of Medical Research 
on the preparation of menus for school meals suited to different 
regions of the country. These menus take into consideration the 
common dietary deficiencies in that region and also the locally 
available food materials and are so designed that a nutritional meal 
according to standard requirements could be provided at low cost 
which varies, at the present day prices, from 8 nP to 12 nP per meal 
per day. As many as 52 such menus have been designed so far and 
the work is in progress. 

The Central Food Technological Research Institute at Mysore 


has prepared a multipurpose food of a very good quality consisting 
of defatted groundnut flour. One ounce of multipurpose food 
yields about 12 grammes of proteins and a substantial amount of 
calcium, vitamin A and riboflavin. Its cost is about 64 nP at 
present and is expected to be reduced, with improvements in the 
process of manufacture, by about 25 per cent. It is, therefore, 
estimated that multipurpose food would not cost more than 2 nP 
per meal per day and serve as a nutritional strengthening of the 
school meal. The main difficulty in expanding this programme, 
however, is the limited production available at present and the lack 
of popularity of this new article of diet. 

Another interesting programme is the expanded nutrition pro- 
gramme initiated in Orissa by the community development organi- 
zation with the assistance of UNICEF. The main object of this 
project is to increase village, school and home production of 
nutritional foods such as poultry, eggs, fish, fruits, and vegetables, 
and to distribute the supplies produced through schools, mothers’ 
clubs and community development and extension personnel, to 
expectant and nursing mothers and young children in homes and 
in schools. The scheme has now been taken up in a few Blocks, 
and is gradually being extended. The idea has been caught up 
by other states as well. If suitably developed, it will not only 
provide school meals to children but also make us self-sufficient in 
this matter. 

Wherever school meal programmes have been introduced, 
the enrolment of children has increased and their daily attendance 
at school sessions has shown remarkable improvement. The health 
of the children has shown distinct improvement and so has their 
progress in studies. The popular opinion in favour of an early 
expansion of the programme is, therefore, growing very rapidly. 
The main difficulty which prevents expansion, however, is the 
paucity of resources. Even in the Madras pattern, which is the least 
expensive, the cost of a school meal works out at 12 nP per day 
or Rs. 20 per child per year. The total enrolment in the age-group 
6-11 alone will be 50 million at the end of the Third Plan and, 
about 7° million by the end of the Fourth Plan. The recurring 
expenditure on a school meal programme for this age-group only 
would, therefore, be about Rs. 1000 million a year at the end of the 



3§4 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


Third Five-Year Plan and Rs. 1400 million per year at the end of 
the Fourth Plan. How resources of this order are to be found and 
in what form for a programme of such high priority is one of the 
important and difficult problems for the planner. 

III. Textbooks and Writing Materials 

The third significant ancillary service to be provided under the 
programme of universal education is to supply, free of charge, text- 
books and writing materials to all children. Under the compulsory 
education law, the parent can only be compelled to send his children 
to school and he cannot be compelled to purchase the textbooks 
and writing materials required by them. It is, therefore, necessary 
to devise a scheme for free supply of textbooks and writing materials 
in all programmes of compulsory education. 

In developing countries, the usual experience is that the 
progress of the children from poorer families suffers considerably 
because they do not have an adequate and timely supply of text- 
books and writing materials. Studies carried out in the rural areas 
of this country show that, at the elementary stage, only about 30 
per cent of the children have a complete set of all the textbooks 
prescribed and also the necessary writing materials. About 40 per 
cent of the children have some textbooks and some supply of writing 
materials, although this is inadequate and some of the books are 
purchased, not at the beginning of the school year, but rather late 
in the session. About 30 per cent of the children have such an 
inadequate supply of textbooks and writing materials that their 
progress is adversely affected. Some of these children do not own 
a single book ; and several others do not get them in time at the 
beginning of the school year. It is obvious, therefore, that the 
standards in elementary schools would improve materially if a 
complete set of textbooks and adequate writing materials are made 
available to every pupil at the beginning of the school year. 

It may also be pointed out that the poverty of the parent is 
not the only reason for the proposal to provide free textbooks and 
writing materials to all children in elementary schools. In England, 
for instance, the general standard of living is such that it may not 
be necessary to supply free textbooks and writing materials to any 


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child. But the local authorities have adopted a system of supplying 
free textbooks and writing materials in all their elementary schools 
on the ground that such a provision improves the standard of 
education. The programme is, therefore, essential on educational 
grounds ; and the case for it gets doubly strengthened in developing 
countries where the poverty of the average parent makes it difficult 

for children to get the necessary textbooks and writing materials 
in time. 

This programme is not entirely new. The need to provide 
free textbooks and writing materials to poor children has long been 
recognised and, in every state, some financial provision is always 
made for the free supply of textbooks to poor and needy children. 
With the increase in expansion and the introduction of compulsory 
education, the scale of this programme has to be considerably in- 
creased. The exact proportion of children to whom free textbooks 
and writing materials would have to be provided on economic 
grounds will vary from area to area. But, by and large, it is felt 
that about 30 per cent of the children will have to be given this 
facility in the country as a whole. There are some who suggest 
a target of 50 per cent in this respect on the ground that textbooks 
and writing materials should be given free to all children of 
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and also to all girls, as 
a form of encouragement. It would, therefore, not be wrong to 
assume that, on economic and social grounds alone, we may have 
to provide free textbooks and writing materials to at least 30-50 
per cent of the children in elementary schools. This is the 
minimum inescapable programme and, if possible, it would be 
desirable to go a step further and to provide free textbooks and 
writing materials to all children. 

Two important issues arise in this context. The first refers 
to the cost of the programme. It has been estimated that the cost 
of textbooks and writing materials varies, on an average, from Rs. 3 
per child per year in class I to Rs. 30 per child per year in class VIII. 
There are also variations from state to state ; but as a rough 
estimate, it may be said that the total cost of the programme of 
supplying textbooks and writing materials to all children in 
elementary schools in the country as a whole would be very large, 
about Rs. 360 million a year, at the end of the Third Five-Year Plan. 


25 



386 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

This works out at an average of about Rs. 6 per child per year for 
an enrolment of 60 million children. The second point refers to 
the difficulties of obtaining the necessary supplies of paper. Even 
at present, when a fairly large proportion of children do not have 
adequate supplies of textbooks and writing materials, it is very 
difficult to get the necessary paper required for textbooks and 
writing materials. The overall production of paper in the country 
is inadequate to meet the total demand and this deficiency seems 
to become more acute every year. 

In order to meet both these difficulties, a number of useful 
programmes have been suggested. The first is that the State 
Governments should take over the production of textbooks at the 
elementary school stage. This is absolutely essential in view of the 
fact that, under a scheme of universal compulsory education, the 
State itself becomes the largest buyer of textbooks for elementary 
schools. The main argument urged against this policy is that the 
quality of textbooks would deteriorate if the free competition that 
now operates in the field is eliminated by the creation of a state 
monopoly. This danger can be avoided by creating a suitable 
machinery for the purpose in each state and by making the 
necessary guidance and assistance available at the national level 
through organisations like the National Council of Educational 
Research and Training. The academic aspects of this programme 
have already been discussed in Chapter 15 and need not be re- 
peated here. From the financial point of view, with which alone 
we are concerned here, it may be said that state production of 
textbooks would reduce their prices to the lowest level possible and 
would result in a corresponding dimunition in the total cost of the 
programme of supplying free textbooks to all children. 

The second important suggestion put forward is that attempts 
should be made to prolong the average life of a textbook. From 
the studies which have been conducted in this field, it appears that 
the average life of a textbook in India is between one and two 
years only at the primary stage. Children who have been newly 
enrolled in schools generally require two to three copies of their 
first primer and reader before they pass class I, so that the average 
life of a textbook in this class may be said to be three to six months 
only. As against this, the average life of a school book in England 


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is eight years, so that even if the English book costs a little more 
at the beginning, it is ultimately far more economical than the 
cheap but poorly produced school books of our country. From the 
point of view of paper supply too, the longer the life of a textbook, 
the less is the demand for additional paper. In view of all these 
considerations, it is clear that our first concern should be to prolong 
the life of school books as much as possible. 

Studies have shown that the following factors affect the life of 
school textbook: 

(a) The paper, binding and production of the book ; 

(b) The attractiveness of the book: children generally’ tend 
to preserve carefully a beautiful book while they tend 
to destroy a bad one ; 

(c) The home atmosphere of children: in cultured homes 
with traditions of reading and proper care of books, 
children also grow up to love and respect books and 
to treat them properly, while under contrary conditions, 
they generally tend to treat books with scant respect 
and to destroy them ; 

(d) The attitude of the teacher and the emphasis that is laid 
by him in teaching children on how to take care of books ; 

(e) The total number of books available in the school: the 
larger the total number of books available, the greater 
is the life of each individual book ; and 

(/) Whether the books are kept in the school or given to 
children to be taken home: books kept in the school in 
the custody of teachers, and made available to children 
during school hours only, last longer. Books entrusted 
to children and taken home by them are generally 
destroyed more quickly because children are found to 
be most careless with books at home and on the way 
to school and back. 

Our first concern should, therefore, be to find out what the 
average life of a school book is, to ascertain the factors which affect 
the life of a school book, and to take steps, through proper educa- 
tion of teachers and through other suitable methods, to prolong 
this life as much as possible. It would be the greatest measure 



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of economy in funds and paper and it will also improve the 
efficiency of schooling. 

Three important programmes can be suggested to prolong the 
average life of a textbook. The first is to improve production, to 
use good paper and binding and to increase the attractiveness of 
the book. The second is to train the elementary teachers to em- 
phasize the need to educate children to take proper care of books 
and to look upon a child’s care of his books as an integral part 
of the school discipline. Our minimum target in this respect 
should be that each textbook should last at least 4 years and should 
be used successively by four different groups of children. The third 
and probably the most important suggestion put forward is that 
textbooks should be kept in the school itself in the custody of the 
teacher and should be made available to children during school 
hours only. Even if this experiment is tried only in classes I and II, 
the resulting economy in cost and paper would be considerable. 
For instance, a child requires, on an average, two or three copies 
of its primer and reader before he passes class I. If these books 
are kept in school, it is found that the average wastage per year 
is only about 6 to 10 copies in a class of 40 to 50 children. In these 
lower classes, there is no home work also and no academic problems 
need arise if books are made available to children during school 
hours only. This suggestion has great potentialities and deserves 
a fair trial. 

IV . School Uniforms 

The provision of school uniforms is another programme awaiting 
to be developed in an imaginative way. The school should be a com- 
munity in itself. It is very difficult to create a common community 
atmosphere in a situation where children’s clothes, their books and 
writing materials act as reminders of social differences. If it were 
possible to provide school meals to all children so that all of them 
share the same common food once a day, to provide them with 
free textbooks and writing materials on a basis of equality, and 
also to provide them with a common uniform, the school will imme- 
diately become a cooperative commonwealth of students in which 
all considerations of caste, religion, economic status, etc., would be 


eliminated and the children would be trained to be citizens 
of a welfare state based on equality, fraternity and justice. Side 
by side with the ancillary services to provide school meals and free 
textbooks and writing materials, therefore, it is also necessary to 
provide common school uniforms. 

It is not necessary to provide school uniforms at state cost to 
all children. The first step in the programme would be to prescribe 
a school uniform which could be prepared at the minimum cost 
possible. Parents should then be persuaded to buy this uniform 
for their children, whenever they buy new clothes for them. If 
the programme is explained to the parents by the teachers, it may 
be possible to provide school uniforms to about 75 to 80 per cent of 
the children entirely through family purchases and it may be 
necessary to provide financial assistance only to 20 to 25 per cent of 
the children for purchasing school uniforms. Funds for this will 
have to be provided by community effort or from the state exchequer. 

In this field also, Madras has given a very encouraging lead. 
A movement for providing uniforms to school children has already 
been started in this state. A very simple uniform has been pres- 
cribed and this is being introduced rapidly in school after school. 
Most of the children purchase the uniform for themselves ; but 
where they cannot do so, local school committees collect funds and 
give free uniforms to the poor and needy children. So far about 
1.3 million children have been provided with free school uniforms 
and the movement is growing every day. It is entirely a voluntary 
movement and receives no assistance from the state. 

In the Nanavatty School at Bombay, an interesting practice has 
been introduced. Every pupil joins in spinning for half an hour 
a day and this enables him to spin enough yarn to provide himself 
with khadi uniforms. This is another programme which may be 
developed with advantage. 

These experiments point the way in which large scale com- 
munity and school effort can be mobilised to make the elementary 
school an institution of the community and give the children what 
is their right to receive. 



CHAPTER 19 


Single-Teacher Schools 

One of the most frequently discussed problems in elementary 
education is the single-teacher school. The most common view 
held is that these schools are, by and large, less efficient than multi- 
teacher schools for the simple reason that the teacher in charge of 
these schools has to instruct five classes at a time. The most 
common line of reform suggested, therefore, is to eliminate the 
single-teacher schools altogether, or to reduce their number to the 
minimum, or at least to reduce the number of classes taught in a 
single-teacher school. Unfortunately, none of these programmes 
seems to be succeeding. To say nothing of elimination, the total 
number of single-teacher schools is steadily increasing because 
schools are now being opened in small and scattered habitations. 
The effort to reduce the number of classes taught in a single-teacher 
school has also not succeeded. In some states, a rule has been 
adopted to the effect that the total number of classes taught in a 
single-teacher school should be restricted to three (classes I-III) and 
that a second teacher should be added whenever there are more 
than three classes. Although the objective of this proposal is 
laudable, it is not always financially possible to add a second teacher, 
with the result that most of the single-teacher schools under this 
system remain incomplete schools teaching three classes only. This 
actually increases wastage because a large number of pupils are 
unable to pursue their studies beyond class III. The overall 
situation in Indian elementary education may, therefore, be summed 
up by saying that the possibility of developing the single-teacher 
schools to function efficiently has not been accepted and efforts are, 
therefore, directed to reducing their number to the minimum, or 
to eliminating them altogether. This concentration on the negative 
aspects of the problem makes us neglect the adoption of a pro- 
gramme to improve them. At the same time, the attempt at 
elimination also fails because of irremediable physical conditions 
and the number of these schools continues to increase in spite of 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 


39 1 


all efforts to the contrary. This is a very unhappy situation. We 
must, therefore, make up our mind about the single-teacher schools 
and decide, once for all, whether we shall permit them to exist or 
not. If it is possible to eliminate them, we should take steps to 
do so very quickly. On the other hand, if they cannot be elimi- 
nated, we shall have to plan and implement a realistic and intelligent 
programme of improving their standards. 

An Old Tradition 

It must be pointed out that single-teacher schools are one of 
our very old traditions. In ancient India, most of the educational 
institutions were single-teacher institutions and each teacher worked 
as a self-employed person and taught a small group of students who 
came to him for study. At Taxila, the most important seat of 
learning in ancient India, where hundreds of students came from 
all parts of the then known world, there was neither a college nor 
an organised university as such. Every teacher, assisted by his 
advanced students, formed a small institution by himself. Banaras 
which has been a centre of education for more than two thousand 
years and has attracted students from all parts of the country, also 
developed on similar lines. Bernier, for instance, has observed that 
‘Benares is a kind of a university, but it has no college or regular 
classes as in our universities. It resembles rather the schools of 
the ancients, the masters being spread over the different parts of 
the town in private houses. . . . Some teachers have four and some 
six disciples ; the most eminent may have 12 or 15, but this is the 
largest number.’ This early tradition survived right till the end 
of the eighteenth century and the indigenous schools of elementary 
and higher education which existed at this time in all parts of the 
country, were mostly single-teacher institutions with classes which 
varied in size from 1 to about 30 or 40. 

It must also be remembered that these single-teacher institu- 
tions did not have pupils learning in one class or at one stage only. 
At this time, the idea of grouping students into ‘classes’ was almost 
unknown and the usual practice was to regard each student as a 
class by himself. The teacher, therefore, paid individual attention 
to each student who was thus able to join the school at any time, 
to go ahead at his own pace, and to leave the institution when he 



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393 


had learnt all that he wanted to learn or the teacher had to teach. 
These institutions, therefore, did not teach a single ‘class’ in the 
modern sense of the term ; on the other hand, they may be said 
to have had as many ‘classes’ as there were students. 

Recent Prejudices 

The strong prejudice which is now seen in almost all educa- 
tional circles against the single-teacher school is, therefore, a very 
recent development and it may be said to have arisen only in the 
early years of this century when the British administrators of 
education were trying to develop a programme of qualitative im- 
provement in elementary education. The social background in 
England, where 80 per cent of the population is urban, is entirely 
different from that in India. The average English elementary 
school is a multi-teacher institution where a teacher is in charge of 
one grade only or at the most of two grades at a time. To the 
British administrators, therefore, the idea of a single teacher manag- 
ing five classes at a time appeared to be absolutely unworkable and 
they made attempts to eliminate or reduce the single-teacher schools. 
The Royal Commission on Agriculture, for instance, commented on 
the inefficiency of these schools and opined that ‘no primary school 
can be efficient which has less than two teachers. Unless the school 
which has at present one teacher can be provided with an additional 
teacher, or converted into a branch school consisting of one or two 
classes only with the object of providing teaching for young children 
until they are old enough to walk to the central school, it is better 
closed, for it is both unattractive and extravagant.’* The Hartog 
Committee also gave the same opinion and observed that ‘there 
is not much promise of effective progress in a system which depends 
so predominantly on the single-teacher schools.’** 

Efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Com- 
mission on Agriculture or of the Hartog Committee were made in 
all Provinces of British India. None of them succeeded. But 
some account of the most intensive of these efforts, which was made 
in Baroda, might be of interest. The Baroda State decided that 

* Report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture, p. 525. 

# * Report , pp. 60-62. At this time the number of single-teacher schools varied 
from 15.7 per cent in the Central Provinces to 76 per cent in Bengal. 


the minimum number of teachers in an elementary school should 
be two and refused to open an elementary school in a place which 
had less than 75 pupils. The result was that most of the villages 
with less than 500 population (which contained about one-fifth of 
the entire population of the State) remained without any educa- 
tional facilities whatsoever. The following comments of Mr. Little- 
hailes, the retired Educational Commissioner with the Government 
of India, who was invited in 1933 to examine the educational 
progress of the State and to suggest improvements, will be of interest 
in this context: 

Single-teacher schools under trained teachers may be quite satisfactory ; they 
are not objectionable. I should go further and allow temporary single-teacher 
schools under untrained teachers, and knowing that a school once closed down 
is difficult to resusciate, I would rather not close a school because its single- 
teacher was untrained. Many schools which were formerly provided with only 
a single teacher have been closed and others have been provided with an addi- 
tional teacher. This policy, I submit, is not to the good of the country, 
especially in its present state of educational advancement. In places where 
the school has been closed, facilities for education no longer exist and children 
remain illiterate. In places where the additional teacher has been added, 
though the individual instruction given to pupils may have been slightly 
improved, the strength of the school is not appreciably increased ; it has 
certainly not doubled ; furthermore the cost of the school has increased twofold 
though the instruction given has not improved to anything like the same 
extent. 

There will always be small villages, where the employment of a single teacher 
is all that can be economically justified and wastage in school effort will always 
be with us especially when illiteracy is large, so that single- teacher schools will 
have to remain in parts of Baroda just as they remain in small and out of way 
villages in other parts of the world. What is desirable is that where a single- 
teacher school exists, the teacher should be conscientious in character and 
trained. It has not been found impossible in other countries for a single 
teacher to conduct several small classes in a small village ; it should not be 
impossible in Baroda. I advise the opening of single-teacher schools in places 
where they have been closed and transfer to them of trained teachers.* 

Unfortunately, this sound advice given by Mr. Littlehailes went 
unheeded and the Baroda State continued to follow its earlier policy 
of eliminating single-teacher schools with consequences which proved 
to be disastrous to the development of education. But the view- 
point of Mr. Littlehailes was taken up by Shri R. V. Parulekar who 
pointed out that those educationists who advocated the abolition 

J; .Naik * Compulsory Primary Education in Baroda State (The Progress of 
Education, Feb. 1941, pp. 361-2). & 



394 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 


395 


of single-teacher schools did not visualise their indispensable 
place in the framework of the Indian educational system and advised 
that the right approach to the problem was to ‘mend’ these institu- 
tions rather than to ‘end’ them. 1 Considerable work on the problem 
was also done by Shri J. P. Naik whose brochure on The Single- 
teacher School has been published by the Ministry of Education. 2 
As a result of the work of these two educationists, it is being 
gradually realised that an attempt to eliminate the single-teacher 
schools is not practicable and that it would be better to organize 
a realistic programme for their improvement. But very few concrete 
steps have been taken so far in this direction in any state. 

Examples from Other Countries 

Formerly, the educational developments in India were almost 
exclusively influenced by the educational system of England. There 
are hardly any single-teacher schools in England and consequently 
the British educationists have paid scant attention to their problems. 
But the position in countries like U.S.A., Australia, Norway and 
Sweden is entirely different. In these countries, there are a large 
number of small local communities which can afford to maintain only 
a single-teacher school ; and these schools teach, not only five grades 
at a time as in India, but sometimes as many as 7 or 8 grades, 
depending upon the duration of the compulsory course of educa- 
tion. In all these countries, therefore, attempts have been made, 
not to eliminate the single-teacher schools, but to improve them, 
and valuable research work has been carried out to discover the 
techniques which could make single-teacher schools more efficient 
in spite of their obvious handicaps. Studies have also been carried 
out to ascertain whether the pupils in single-teacher schools have 
any disadvantage as compared to those in multi-teacher schools and 
the findings have generally been that, if properly organized, the 
single-teacher schools can afford almost equal opportunities to their 
pupils as in the multi-teacher schools. We have recently begun to 
study all this literature that is available on this subject ; and it is 
to be hoped that a massive effort to improve single-teacher schools 
would be undertaken in the near future. 

1 R. V. Parulekar: Literacy in India , Chapter 10. 

2 J. P. Naik: The Single-teacher School, Ministry of Education, Government of 
India, 1953. 


The Main Problems 

A programme of action regarding single-teacher schools will 
have to be developed along three sectors: 

(1) Reduction in Numbers : While it is true that single- 

teacher schools cannot be eliminated altogether so long as there is 
a large number of small villages in the country, it is necessary to 
take steps to see that the number of single-teacher schools is reduced 
to the minimum. The first programme of action should, therefore, 
be directed to this end. 

(2) Studies into the Problems of Single-teacher Schools : The 
second part of the programme would be to conduct research into 
the different pedagogical, organizational and administrative pro- 
blems which face single-teacher schools. It is on this research 
that the programme of qualitative improvement of single-teacher 
schools will have to be based. 

(3) Qualitative Improvement of Single-teacher Schools : In 
this part of the programme, a massive campaign would have to be 
launched to improve the functioning of all single-teacher schools on 
the lines of the accepted programme. 

The salient features of these three sectors of the programme 
will be briefly discussed in the following paragraphs. 

Reducing the Number of Single-teacher Schools 

The single-teacher schools of today fall into the following major 
categories : 

(1) Separate Schools for Girls : In many villages the people 
demand separate schools for girls under women teachers. Very 
often, these remain single-teacher schools because the total number 
of girls attending them is not large enough to justify the appoint- 
ment of additional teachers. 

(2) Schools for Minorities : Even in big towns and cities, the 
number of children belonging to a minority linguistic group and 
living in a given neighbourhood is so small that only a single-teacher 
school can be organized for them. Of course, the total number of 
such single-teacher schools is very small ; but they form a distinct 
and significant group. 

(3) Schools in Villages with a Population of more than 500 : 
Single-teacher schools are often found to exist even in villages with 



394 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 


395 


of single-teacher schools did not visualise their indispensable 
place in the framework of the Indian educational system and advised 
that the right approach to the problem was to ‘mend’ these institu- 
tions rather than to 'end' them. 1 Considerable work on the problem 
was also done by Shri J. P. Naik whose brochure on The Single- 
teacher School has been published by the Ministry of Education. 2 
As a result of the work of these two educationists, it is being 
gradually realised that an attempt to eliminate the single-teacher 
schools is not practicable and that it would be better to organize 
a realistic programme for their improvement. But very few concrete 
steps have been taken so far in this direction in any state. 

Examples from Other Countries 

Formerly, the educational developments in India were almost 
exclusively influenced by the educational system of England. There 
are hardly any single-teacher schools in England and consequently 
the British educationists have paid scant attention to their problems. 
But the position in countries like U.S.A., Australia, Norway and 
Sweden is entirely different. In these countries, there are a large 
number of small local communities which can afford to maintain only 
a single-teacher school ; and these schools teach, not only five grades 
at a time as in India, but sometimes as many as 7 or 8 grades, 
depending upon the duration of the compulsory course of educa- 
tion. In all these countries, therefore, attempts have been made, 
not to eliminate the single-teacher schools, but to improve them, 
and valuable research work has been carried out to discover the 
techniques which could make single-teacher schools more efficient 
in spite of their obvious handicaps. Studies have also been carried 
out to ascertain whether the pupils in single-teacher schools have 
any disadvantage as compared to those in multi-teacher schools and 
the findings have generally been that, if properly organized, the 
single-teacher schools can afford almost equal opportunities to their 
pupils as in the multi-teacher schools. We have recently begun to 
study all this literature that is available on this subject ; and it is 
to be hoped that a massive effort to improve single-teacher schools 
would be undertaken in the near future. 

1 R. V. Parulekar: Literacy in India , Chapter 10. 

3 J. P. Naik : The Single-teacher School , Ministry of Education, Government of 
India, 1953. 


The Main Problems 

A programme of action regarding single-teacher schools will 
have to be developed along three sectors: 

(1) Reduction in Numbers : While it is true that single- 

teacher schools cannot be eliminated altogether so long as there is 
a large number of small villages in the country, it is necessary to 
take steps to see that the number of single-teacher schools is reduced 
to the minimum. The first programme of action should, therefore, 
be directed to this end. 

(2) Studies into the Problems of Single-teacher Schools : The 
second part of the programme would be to conduct research into 
the different pedagogical, organizational and administrative pro- 
blems which face single-teacher schools. It is on this research 
that the programme of qualitative improvement of single-teacher 
schools will have to be based. 

(3) Qualitative Improvement of Single-teacher Schools : In 
this part of the programme, a massive campaign would have to be 
launched to improve the functioning of all single-teacher schools on 
the lines of the accepted programme. 

The salient features of these three sectors of the programme 
will be briefly discussed in the following paragraphs. 

Reducing the Number of Single-teacher Schools 

The single-teacher schools of today fall into the following major 
categories : 

(1) Separate Schools for Girls : In many villages the people 
demand separate schools for girls under women teachers. Very 
often, these remain single-teacher schools because the total number 
of girls attending them is not large enough to justify the appoint- 
ment of additional teachers. 

(2) Schools for Minorities : Even in big towns and cities, the 
number of children belonging to a minority linguistic group and 
living in a given neighbourhood is so small that only a single-teacher 
school can be organized for them. Of course, the total number of 
such single-teacher schools is very small ; but they form a distinct 
and significant group. 

(3) Schools in Villages with a Population of more than 500 : 
Single-teacher schools are often found to exist even in villages with 



39 6 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


a population of more than 500, because only a small number of 
children attend them. If compulsory education is introduced in 
the age-group 6-1 1, the enrolment in the schools would be about 
15 per cent of the total population ; and if compulsion is extended 
to the age-group 11-14, the total number of children enrolled would 
be about 20 per cent of the total population. In a village with a 
population of 5°°> therefore, the minimum number of children who 
will attend schools under a system of compulsory education would 
be 75 <md the maximum would be about 100. In either case, it 
would be financially feasible to appoint two teachers in such a 
school. When compulsory education is not introduced and only 
a small proportion of the total number of children is enrolled, 
single-teacher schools have to be established even in villages where 
the population is 500 or more. 

(4) Schools for Villages with a Population of less than 500 : 
For reasons stated above, most of the schools in villages with a 
population of less than 500 would be single-teacher schools. If 
compulsion is introduced in the age-group 6-14, most of the schools 
in villages with a population of less than 300 would have only a 
single teacher. 

It will be seen from the above classification that there is really 
no justification for some categories of single-teacher schools which we 
have at present. For instance, we should be able to adopt co-education 
as a normal pattern at the elementary stage of education. If this 
is done, the large number of single-teacher girls schools which we 
have at present would disappear. Similarly, there is no justification 
for maintaining single-teacher schools in villages with a population 
of more than 400 to 500. If compulsory education is intro- 
duced in these villages, it would be possible to increase the total 
enrolment to a point where the appointment of two teachers would 
be financially feasible. When the duration of compulsory educa- 
tion increases to eight years, it may be possible to abolish all single- 
teacher schools in villages with more than 300 population. In the 
last analysis, therefore, single-teacher schools need exist only (1) for 
minority linguistic groups, and (2) in small villages with less than 
300 to 500 people. These will, of course, always remain with us ; 
and in their case, the only programme of action would be to improve 
the schools to the maximum extent possible. 


SINGLE- TEACHER SCHOOLS 


397 


The Rajasthan Study 

Very little research has been done in regard to single-teacher 
schools and the problems facing them. A reference may, however, 
be made here to a small pilot study of 25 single-teacher schools in 
Rajasthan which was recently carried out by the National Institute 
of Basic Education, New Delhi. The main findings of this survey 

highlight the major problems which the single-teacher schools have 
to face at present. 

(0 The schools selected for study were located in the districts 
of Bikaner, Udaipur, and Jaipur. The population of the villages 
in which they were located varied from 315 to 2500. Two of the 
single-teacher schools were separate schools for girls and were located 
in places where the population was 1500 and 2500 respectively. 
Obviously, these could have disappeared under a system of co- 
education. 

(2) Most of these places were difficult of access, being about 
9 to 40 miles from the nearest railway station or main road. 

(3) Four of these schools had three classes, eleven had four and 
ten had all the five classes. 

(4) The enrolment of these institutions varied from 13 at the 
lowest to 89 at the highest. The median of enrolment was 37. 
The average daily attendance was 82.9 per cent on the whole and 
actually varied from 44 per cent in one school to almost 100 per 
cent in another. The median of attendance was 32. Seven of 

these schools had enrolments of more than 50 and needed a second 
teacher. 

(5) Of the total enrolment of 1,090, as many as 563 children 
(or 51.6 per cent) were in class I, 227 (or 20.8 per cent) were in 
class II, 155 (or 14.2 per cent) were in class III, 94 (or 8.6 per cent) 
were in class IV, and 51 (or 4.8 per cent) were in class V. It will be 
seen that the proportion of wastage is greater in single-teacher 
schools than in other schools. This does not necessarily imply 
that these institutions are less efficient. The fall in enrolment in 
classes IV and V is more due to the fact that four of these schools 
do not provide for the teaching of classes IV and V and 11 of them 
had only classes I-IV. In fact, the studies conducted by the Gokhale 
Institute of Politics and Economics in Poona show that the extent 



398 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SINGLE- TEACHER SCHOOLS 


399 


of wastage in single-teacher schools is not significantly greater than 
in multi-teacher schools. 

(6) The total number of girls in 23 schools (excluding the 
enrolment of two separate schools for girls which have been in- 
cluded in the sample) was 125 or 13.1 per cent of the total enrol- 
ment. This proportion is much less than the overall enrolment 
of girls in the primary schools of Rajasthan. This is mainly due 
to the backwardness of the villages in which these schools are 
located. 

(7) Of the 25 teachers in charge of these schools, two were 
trained intermediates ; 14 were trained matriculates ; two were 
matriculates but untrained ; one was middle passed and trained ; 
one was middle passed and untrained ; and one had failed middle 
but had received a short-term course of teacher training. The 
qualifications of teachers of single-teacher schools were broadly in 
keeping with the overall position in Rajasthan State. 

(8) At the time of their first appointment to single-teacher 
schools, however, it was found that only 6 teachers were trained 
matriculates. The single-teacher schools should invariably be 
placed in charge of trained and experienced teachers. By and 
large, however, it appears that this policy had not been followed 
in Rajasthan. 

(9) In 16 out of the 25 schools examined, no time-table of daily 
studies had been prepared. In 7 schools, the time-table showed 
only the programme of each class and did not indicate how the 
teacher would divide his time between the different classes. In only 
two time-tables was the programme of work to be carried out by 
the teacher indicated ; but a closer examination showed that even 
these time-tables were not followed in practice. It, therefore, 
appeared that the teachers in charge of these schools generally work 
in an ad hoc and rule-of-thumb manner. 

(10) Eighteen out of the 25 teachers reported that their 
principal method of instruction was to work separately with each 
grade, although they combined two or more grades occasionally. 
The grouping of grades for craft-work was, however, frequent. 
Craft- work was being done in only 19 schools out of 25 ; and 18 
of these reported that they grouped grades for craft-work. Groups 
were also formed for co-curricular activities. 


(11) The usual method adopted by the teachers was to deal 
with one group at a time and to keep the other groups occupied 
in programmes of self-study or under senior monitors. 

(12) The teachers mentioned the following advantages of 
working in single-teacher schools: 

a. greater freedom of action for the teacher ; 

b . greater contact of the teacher with the community ; 

c. teacher commands greater respect from the community ; 

d. teacher has contacts with every child in the school ; 

e. it is easier for the teacher to obtain residential accommo- 
dation in a village ; and 

/. there is no problem of quarrels with other teachers. 

(13) On the other hand, the teachers also pointed out a number 
of difficulties while working in single-teacher schools: 

a . The teacher has no companion and feels lonely ; 

b. Single-teacher schools generally exist in very small villages 
where living conditions are difficult ; 

c. The need to teach several grades simultaneously creates 
difficult problems ; 

d. The equipment provided is inadequate ; 

e. It is difficult to get leave and the teacher has, on the whole, 
to shoulder a larger responsibility ; and 

/. It is not generally possible to cover the entire syllabus. 

(14) When the teacher in charge of the school proceeds on 
leave, the school often remains closed. In this particular study, it 
was found that the school remained invariably closed when the 
leave was of a short duration, i.e. less than 7 days. Out of five 
cases in which the leave period was more than 7 days but less than 
30 days, substitute teachers were appointed in three. In cases of 
leave for more than 30 days, substitutes were generally appointed. 

(15) The inspection of these schools left a good deal to be 
desired. During 1961-62, for instance, 10 schools had remained 
without inspection ; and in 7 more, there was no record available 
to show whether the school had been inspected or not. Only 6 
schools had been inspected once and only 2 had received one or 
two visits in addition to the inspection. 

(16) The teachers reported that they needed assistance from 
inspecting officers and training in respect of (a) preparation of 



40Q 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 


401 


time-tables, ( b ) devising methods to keep every group of children 
fully occupied, (c) methods of grouping children for instruction, 
craft-work and co-curricular activities, (d) maintaining discipline 
and ( e ) making and using audio-visual aids. Most of them com- 
plained that they had not been trained to meet these problems and 
that they received very little help from inspecting officers in these 
matters. 

It will be seen from the above study that, out of the total of 
25 single-teacher schools included in the sample, the two separate 
schools for girls and the seven schools where the enrolment is already 
more than 50 could be eliminated easily by adopting co-education 
or appointing additional teachers. Even in the remaining 16 
schools, at least 5 more would need an additional teacher if all the 
children locally available could be enrolled. It may thus be 
possible to reduce the total number of single-teacher schools by at 
least fifty per cent. 

A single-teacher school needs larger space because the children 
have to work in a number of separate groups and it also needs con- 
siderable equipment. Most of the teachers in these single-teacher 
schools complained that they had inadequate equipment. Improv- 
ing physical facilities and providing single-teacher schools with 
larger classrooms, better equipment and more teaching aids would, 
therefore, be a very important programme for improving their 
standards. 

By far the most important deficiency that comes out from this 
study is the fact that only a few of the teachers in charge of these 
schools have received adequate professional training. Even those 
persons who had been formally trained had not received that special 
instruction which is needed by heads of single-teacher schools. The 
inspection of these schools is not as frequent as it should be, 
probably because they are located in out-of-the-way places ; and 
what is worse, the inspecting officers are not in a position to give 
the necessary guidance to the teachers to enable them to solve their 
problems. This is the crux of the problem and the success or 
otherwise of single-teacher schools will ultimately depend upon the 
manner in which we train their teachers and the extent to which 
the supervising officers are able to give them good guidance and 
assistance. 


The study also brings out certain other important problems, 
lor instance, life in the small and backward villages where the 
single-teacher schools are located is generally difficult. The teacher 
is cut off from intellectual company of his colleagues and feels 
isolated and depressed. The school often remains closed when he 
has to go on short periods of leave and he also finds it more difficult 
to obtain leave. These and other problems of administration and 
personnel will also have to be studied and suitable methods for their 
solution will have to be devised. 

Pedagogical Problems 

The most important and difficult problems that face the 
single-teacher schools are pedagogic. Here the teacher in charge 
is required to teach as many as five classes at a time. Very often, 
the total number of children in his charge is also large— 40, 50 or 
even 60 and more. He is expected to teach in accordance with the 
established routine, viz., to divide the whole school into different 
classes and then to teach each class according to a prescribed time- 
table. He has also to put across a heavy curriculum which is mainly 
designed for the bigger schools where one teacher is expected to 
be in charge of a whole class. The net result is that he usually 
complains of ‘too many children, too many classes and too many 
subjects’ and of being under the stress of a curriculum which he 
can never hope to complete. It is to the solution of these difficult 
problems that our attempts have to be directed. 

On the basis of the experimental and research work done in 
countries like U.S.A., Australia, Sweden and Switzerland, and also 
in the light of our own traditions, it is possible to indicate a broad 
programme of action which can meet these difficulties. What is 
needed is a new approach to the organization of teaching in single- 
teacher schools. For instance, we will have to accept the position 
that the teaching methods which we have now evolved and which 
are generally put across in training institutions are unsuitable to 
the conditions in single-teacher schools. In the present teaching 
methods, the basic unit is a ‘lesson’, and this has to be taught 
generally in the five well-known Herbartian steps. This method 
w as primarily evolved for secondary schools where the school is 
organized into different classes, each class has a time-table in which 
86 



402 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


one subject after another is studied for a specified period, and there 
is a different teacher for each subject. It can also be applied, with 
some modifications, to such elementary schools as have a separate 
teacher in charge of each class. But this is possible only when the 
total enrolment is more than 300 in classes I-VIII or 200 in classes 
I-V. The number of such big schools, however, is very small. In 
all other schools, the teachers have to be in charge of more than one 
class : the number of classes entrusted to a teacher varies from 2 to 3 
in multi-teacher schools and is as large as five in single-teacher 
schools. The unit or lesson method of teaching cannot obviously 
be used under such conditions. But the tragedy of the situation is 
that this is almost the only method taught in training institutions. 
Our training programmes, therefore, do not give any material assist- 
ance to teachers in solving the pedagogical problems they have to 
face in single-teacher schools. 

It is not suggested that the lesson method has no application 
at all in a single-teacher school. It can and should be used to the 
extent possible. But, by and large, the lesson method will have 
to be used to a small extent only and the major programme of 
teaching in a single-teacher school will have to be based on a 
number of other methods such as the combination of classes, use 
of the shift system to reduce the number of classes to be handled 
at a time, plural-class teaching, monitorial system, self-instruction 
and individual attention. It is not possible to describe these 
different techniques in detail ; but a broad description of them is 
necessary to illustrate the new approach that is needed to the solution 
of the pedagogical problems in single-teacher schools. 

Reduction in the Number of Classes : Let us first consider 

whether we can reduce the number of classes to be handled at a 
time. In Sweden, an interesting system is often adopted for this 
purpose. The Swedish teacher is required to handle, not five classes 
as in India, but as many as eight classes, covering the entire duration 
of compulsory schooling. Two consecutive classes are, therefore, 
combined. Thus classes I and II, III and IV, V and VI and VII 
and VIII are grouped together. The course for each group lasts for 
two years and fresh admissions to the school are made every alternate 
year. The result is that the teacher has only four different groups 
of children to handle at a time instead of eight. This is an 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 403 

interesting experiment which can be tried out in our conditions 
as well. Where the primary course is spread over four years, for 
instance, we may divide the school into two groups covering classes 
I"II *ttid III-IV and make fresh admissions to the school every alter- 
nate year. Where the primary course is spread over five classes, 
we may still have the same groups and treat class V as a separate 
unit by itself ; in the alternative, we may leave class I as it is and 
combine classes I and II, and IV and V into two-year classes. This 
is a rather unorthodox programme, but it deserves a trial. 

The shift system may also be used to reduce the number of 
classes which a teacher will have to handle at a time. For instance, 
the teacher may take classes I and III in the morning and classes II’ 
IV and V in the afternoon or vice versa. Other combinations can 
also be made, the main idea being that the four or five classes 
which have to be handled by the single-teacher school should be 
divided into two groups, each of which will have three hours 
instruction per day. If the teacher prefers this method and works 
it out carefully, there is no reason why the standard of attainment 
of the children should suffer under this programme. This is 
another and less radical experiment which deserves a fair trial. 

Plural-class Teaching .* In the two experiments suggested 
above, the objective is to reduce the number of classes to be 
handled at a time ; but this is not absolutely essential. Even if all 
the five classes of a single-teacher school attend together throughout 
the school day, it is possible to evolve techniques under which the 
time of the teacher is most profitably utilized and the progress of 
the pupils is best accelerated. For instance, it is not necessary to 
teach every class separately in every subject. In fact, the advanced 
countries which have to deal with single-teacher schools have 
evolved techniques which enable a teacher to combine classes for 
teaching different subjects. In Tasmania, the curriculum of the 
single-teacher school, which has seven or eight classes, is so arranged 
that all classes are taught separately in a few subjects only and that 
two or more classes are grouped together for most subjects. In 
subjects where sequential teaching is necessary, as for example in 
reading or arithmetic, each class is taught separately. But in 
Physical training, singing and religious instruction, all classes are 
taken together. For nature study, drawing and manual work, the 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 


405 


404 

entire school is divided into two groups and in history and 
geography, there are three groups. In South Australia, where the 
single-teacher schools have to handle eight classes, each class is taken 
separately in writing, arithmetic and manual work ; but all classes 
are combined for physical training, music, nature study, needle 
work and religious instruction. There are five groups in reading, 
three in geography and two in drawing and history. In Victoria, 
each class is taken separately for arithmetic and spelling, and all 
classes are taken together in music. There are two school groups 
in speech training, health and physical training ; three in writ- 
ing, poetry, grammar, nature study, science, handwork, domestic 
science and social studies ; four in composition and art ; and five 
in reading. In New South Wales, the entire school is divided 
into two sections. Each class in each section works more or 
less independently in English and Arithmetic and two classes 
are combined for nature study, history, art, handwork, singing, 
hygiene and religious instruction. Both the sections of the school 
may also be combined for observation and picture talks and 
physical education. In all these countries, no attempt is made to 
prescribe a rigid scheme of class groupings and there is consider- 
able freedom given to the teacher to change the grouping according 
to his convenience. But the emphasis is on combination of 
different classes in different subjects in such a manner as to lighten 
the burden of the teacher and to use his time to the best 
advantage of the pupils. It is obvious that similar combinations 
can be easily worked out for India also. But it needs considerable 
experimentation and research. 

As a special form of plural-class teaching, a method is being 
evolved in which the entire school may work on projects which 
have great educational significance and which can provide useful 
instruction to children at all the different levels. This method, 
which is being extensively used is known as the ‘perpendicular unit 
of teaching'. The following example of a project worked out in 
a single-teacher school of Switzerland may be of interest to illustrate 
the basic techniques involved in this method of teaching: 

‘The city of Zurich was to hold a Swiss National Exhibition, 
an event which takes place every twenty-five years. The children 
were planning their trip to the exhibition. All pupils were to go 


except the first- and second-graders. While the older youngsters 
studied the more intricate aspects of the journey, such as the 
important monuments to visit, things worth seeing at the exhibi- 
tion, amount and wise distribution of time necessary for the entire 
trip, expenses involved, and other languages likely to be known, 
the fifth-graders were discussing various means of transportation 
and were determining what distance could be covered by foot. 
These semi-mountain youngsters wanted to use as many kinds of 
travel conveyances as possible for not one of them had ever been 
on a bus, a boat, or a fast train. They were eager to get maximum 
results out of this eventful experience. 

‘They planned to leave the village on foot so that the little 
ones could go part of the way with them ; next, they would climb 
over the nearby pass and later take a train to the shore of Lake 
Thun. Here they would transfer to a boat. Once on the other 
shore they would hike across a second pass and take a bus to Zurich. 
The return journey was to be routed differently. Not only did 
the pupils know the necessary time and cost involved but they had 
started to save money and were studying the history of the cantons 
through which they were to pass, the various costumes formerly 
worn by the people there, and the languages spoken. The pictures 
they had collected of Swiss costumes were remarkable. While at 
Zurich the young travellers expected to sleep in one of the city 
schools held open for this purpose, since the city children would 
be on summer vacation at that time. It can readily be seen that 
the teacher had enough curriculum material on hand to last a year. 
The children asked if they might sing one of the songs they had 
learnt for the trip. The teacher gave them permission, and after 
he had given them the pitch with the help of a tuning fork, the 
whole group sang with well-trained voices a four-part song.'* 

If such units are possible in a school with eight classes, 
it should be possible to develop them in our single-teacher schools 
which have only five classes or even less. But even here the basic 
need is experimentation and research for the development of 
suitable programmes which could be put across to the elementary 
teachers. 

# I. E. Schatzmann: The Country School , pp. 14-15. 



406 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


S I N G L E - T E A C H E R SCHOOLS 


407 


Monitorial System : Another method which can be effectively 

used in the organization of instruction in single- teacher schools is 
the monitorial system. In this programme, capable students of 
the senior class are trained as monitors and are utilized for giving 
instruction, under the guidance of the teacher, to children in the 
junior classes. The obvious simplicity of this method is also 
responsible for its popularity. It is officially recognized and exten- 
sively practised in all Western countries where single-teacher 
schools are common and teachers are specially instructed in the 
proper training and use of monitors. As the Rajasthan study 
revealed, this method is also used very largely in all our single- 
teacher schools. But unfortunately, very little attention has been 
paid to guiding the teachers in the training and use of monitors so 
that we do not always obtain the best results which the system is 
capable of yielding. What is worse, the system is not always 
officially recognized and in some quarters, it is even discouraged on 
the ground that it wastes the time of the good students. It is, there- 
fore, necessary to examine the problem and to decide whether we 
should or should not utilize this technique for organizing instruction 
in our single-teacher schools. 

All the evidence available on the subject clearly shows that 
the monitorial system, like the quality of mercy, is twice blessed ; 
it blesses him that teaches as well as him that learns. The 
assumption that the time of the good students is wasted under this 
system is not, therefore, quite valid. On the other hand, it has a 
beneficial effect upon the entire atmosphere of the school. In a 
special enquiry conducted in Victoria by Mr. J. M. Braithwaite, 
an Inspector of Schools, and Mr. McRae, a Lecturer in Education, 
in the practical working of the monitorial system in single-teacher 
schools, the unexceptional conclusion reached was the good results 
obtained through a proper use of the monitorial system. They 
observed : 

‘No one who has seen one of Victoria's small county schools 
at work could fail to be impressed by the value of the monitorial 
system as it is used in that state. It certainly enables the head 
teacher to do more and better work. Without it, his services 
would often be spread so thin as to be of little avail. It ensures 
that the youngest pupils will have, almost constantly, the guidance 


without which they would waste much time. Best of all, perhaps, 
it develops in the small school a spirit of cooperation and a feeling 
of partnership in a well-conducted concern which are rarely to be 
observed in any other kind of school. To illustrate its value, a 
few lines from one of our Victorian returns are worth quoting: 

I have seen rural children, aged 9 to 14 years, take a keen delight in making 
wall-charts in their home time for grades I and II. Children living near the 
school need to be almost forced to go home in the evening, so enthusiastic are 
their efforts to prepare aids for their monitorial duties. 

A healthier relationship frequently develops between brothers and sisters from 
the monitorial system. Older boys and girls learn the superior value of persua- 
sion and sympathy over hectoring and force. The younger ones feel that they 
can better rely on the judgment of their senior brothers and sisters. 

From the view-point of life-service, of being valuable members of a corporate 
society, the monitorial systems lay foundations as secure as they are essential, 
on which altruism may safely flourish. From junior to supplementary depart- 
ments, first as being ministered to and then as ministering, the child feels, gropes 
his way along. He acquires the virtue of obedience, that will later enable him 
to command, pleasantly, persuasively, productively. He leaves school realizing 
that he has contributed to the process of educating a generation. 

And if he is not consciously aware of this, it cannot be denied that he has con- 
tributed. His reach has exceeded his grasp : he has done without being aware 
of doing. 

It will be noted that this teacher writes of his young assistants 
feelingly, and with enthusiasm. We are of the opinion that he 
does so on good grounds'* 

It was possible to obtain these results in Victoria because the 
Education Department paid special attention to the problems 
involved, such as, selection and training of monitors, determining 
the duties to be assigned to them and supervising their work. 
Special instructions were prepared for the guidance of the teachers 
on the use of monitorial system and it was greatly emphasised in 
their training programmes. If we can adopt a similar policy, 
there is no doubt that the instructional standards in our single- 
teacher schools will improve considerably. 

In this connection, it has to be remembered that the monitorial 
system has been an Indian tradition in origin. It was practised 
universally in the indigenous elementary schools. In these schools, 
the teacher gave his personal attention to different pupils or groups 
of pupils successively ; and while he was engaged with one group, 

* P. R. Cole: The Rural School in Australia , pp. 207-308. 



408 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


the other groups of pupils were kept busy, either with some assign- 
ment or more particularly by asking the monitors or senior pupils 
to teach the less advanced ones. Several forms of the monitorial 
system were in vogue. In one form, a monitor would be in charge 
of a small group of pupils for a particular subject ; in another, the 
monitors would be in charge of two or three pupils in all subjects ; 
and in a third, the boys were paired off and every junior boy was 
attracted to a senior boy who was responsible to see that he makes 
adequate progress and to assist him in learning. The system first 
came to the notice of Rev. Dr. Andrew Bell, Chaplain of Madras, 
who was so impressed by its effectiveness that he introduced it in 
England where it came to be known as the monitorial or the 
Madras system. From England, the system travelled to European 
countries on the one hand and to British colonies in America or 
Australia and New Zealand on the other. The use of this 
method was later abandoned in England because the single-teacher 
schools mostly disappeared. In the single-teacher schools of U.S.A., 
Australia, New Zealand and continental countries like Sweden and 
Switzerland, the method still survives and is largely practised and 
regarded as a useful and sound educational technique. In India, 
on the other hand, we have come to despise the method under the 
influence of a British tradition which is not at all applicable to our 
conditions. It is time that we reinstated this system in our single- 
teacher schools and provided proper instruction in its use in our 
training institutions. 

Self-instruction : One of the most significant developments in 

modern education is the increasing emphasis that is now placed 
upon self-instruction by pupils. In a single-teacher school, the 
main difficulty is that the teacher can give a limited attention to 
each pupil and the total attention given by a teacher to a pupil in 
the course of a school day is much less than what is given in 
a situation where a teacher is in charge of one class only. But this 
ceases to be a disadvantage if we consider that self-instruction by 
a pupil is even better than his being spoon-fed by the teacher. Of 
course, in the lower classes (that is in classes I and II), the method 
of self-instruction cannot be used very largely, but in the upper 
classes (classes III and V), it can be used largely and effectively. The 
general suggestion, therefore, is that a person in charge of a single- 


ts ingle- teacher schools 


409 


teacher school should devote more personal attention to classes I 
and II and that he should utilize self-instruction techniques to a 
larger extent in classes III and IV. Where this is actually done, as 
in the schools of Australia, the results are encouraging. The 
Australian educationists and administrators claim that the work in 
single-teacher schools can give excellent results, that pupils trained 
to rely to a larger extent on their own initiative receive an 
education which is superior to that given in a large class through 
collective methods ; that the average parent in Australia does not 
regard enrolment in a single-teacher school as a handicap for his 
child ; and that, in some cases, it is even looked upon as a privilege 
to be sought and competed for. Even in this respect, there- 
fore, it will be seen that there is a need to reorientate our 
educational thinking which is most commonly based on the 
conditions prevailing in large urban schools and to modify it 
suitably for the requirements of single-teacher schools. 

Syllabus : The syllabus also poses an important problem. 

One view is that the present syllabus, which is drawn up on 
the assumption that a teacher will be in charge of one class 
only, cannot be satisfactorily taught in single-teacher schools. It 
is, therefore, suggested that a separate and simpler syllabus should 
be prepared for single-teacher schools. This was also done in 
some areas, as in the old Bombay State. The results obtained, 
however, were not encouraging. The preparation of a simpler 
syllabus for the single-teacher schools implies a certain inferiority 
which is largely objected to, and rightly, by the parents. It also 
places the children from these schools at a handicap if they want 
to proceed further to middle or secondary schools. It is not also 
necessary to do so. What the single-teacher schools need is not a 
separate or a simpler syllabus, but a different organization of the 
syllabus. If this can be done on the lines indicated above, 
the need for a separate syllabus will disappear. In U.S.A., and 
Australia, it is a common practice to issue handbooks for the 
guidance of persons in charge of single-teacher schools, containing 
detailed instructions regarding the manner in which they can 
reorganize the general curriculum to meet their special needs. In 
these publications, no attempt is made to dictate any specified 
methods of reorganization ; but a wealth of reorganized material is 



410 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


S I N G L E - T E A C H E R SCHOOLS 


411 


placed at the teacher’s disposal and he is allowed the freedom to 
invent, add or alter it according to his inclinations and capacities. 
In India, such handbooks are conspicuous by their absence and 
their production would be an important programme for improving 
the instruction in single-teacher schools. 

These new techniques of teaching in single-teacher schools 
need four essential factors for their successful adoption: (1) a large 

classroom area which would enable the teacher to divide his pupils 
into a number of small groups which can work by themselves ; 
(2) plenty of equipment, especially that which can be used 
for self-instruction techniques ; (3) adequate training of teachers ; 
and (4) provision of competent guidance through inspecting 
officers. The success of the instruction in single-teacher schools 
will depend mainly upon the extent to which we provide these 
basic requirements. 

Administrative Problems 

Finally, a brief reference may be made to some administrative 
problems of single-teacher schools. The first and the most important 
of these is to make arrangements for holding the school when the 
teacher is away on short leave. In a multi-teacher school, even if 
one or two teachers go on leave, the work of the absentees is 
distributed among the other members of the staff and the school 
is not required to be closed. But if the teacher goes on leave in a 
single-teacher school, the institution just comes to a standstill. A 
method has, therefore, to be developed under which it would be 
possible to appoint a substitute teacher immediately in all cases 
when the person in charge of a single-teacher school proceeds 
on leave. 

If the leave applied for by the teacher is long, say, more than 
30 days, it is generally possible to appoint a substitute. But in a 
leave of shorter duration, the appointment of a substitute becomes 
difficult and generally the school remains closed. Three proposals 
can be made to overcome this difficulty. The first is to attach 
leave reserve teachers to the inspecting officer in charge of the 
single-teacher schools so that they could be immediately posted 
whenever a person in charge of a single-teacher school proceeds on 
leave. The second is to send a teacher from a neighbouring big 


school to work in the single-teacher school until arrangements for 
the appointment of a substitute can be made. This method does 
not involve any additional expenditure ; but it merely transfers 
the inconvenience from the single-teacher school to a multi-teacher 
school which is in a better position to bear it. The third method 
is to approve a panel of one or more local persons who may remain 
in charge of the school in the short absence of the teacher. 
Payment at fixed rates should be made to such persons and the 
teachers should be instructed to hand over charge of the school to 
one of them while proceeding on leave. These local persons may 
not be highly educated or trained ; but they would be of help in 
keeping the school going with some order. Where the monitorial 
system is successfully adopted, it is often found that the senior 
pupils keep the school going fairly satisfactorily for short periods 
in the occasional absence of the teacher on leave. 

The posting of teachers to single-teacher schools also deserves 
some consideration. These schools are generally located in out-of- 
the-way villages where conditions of life are rather hard. It 
is, therefore, natural that teachers are unwilling to work in single- 
teacher schools for a very long time. One good rule to be adopted, 
therefore, is that every teacher should be expected to put in at 
least three years of service in a single-teacher school. It should be 
a practice to appoint a teacher, early in his service, to a single- 
teacher school, say, within a year or two of his being trained. At this 
time, the teacher is young, can bear hardships more cheerfully and 
does not generally have grown up children whose education 
presents problems. After such posting, the teacher should not be 
disturbed for a period of about three years and then he should be 
transferred to a bigger school. If such a system of rotation, where 
every teacher puts in a specified period of service in a single- 
teacher school in the earlier part of his career is adopted, the 
quality of work in single-teacher schools will considerably improve. 
What happens today is that some teachers are posted for years 
together in single-teacher schools ; others are never posted there ; 
and some are transferred to these schools late in their service when 
they desire to be posted in bigger villages for the middle school or 
secondary education of their children. It is this arbitrariness in 
postings that makes the single-teacher schools unpopular with the 



413 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

teachers and, therefore, less efficient. It is highly desirable to 
evolve a proper policy in this regard. 

It is obvious that teaching in a single-teacher school is more 
difficult than in a multi-teacher school. It is, therefore, desirable 
to appoint only trained and somewhat experienced teachers to 
single-teacher schools. As the Rajasthan study showed, untrained 
or even unqualified teachers are frequently appointed to these 
institutions. Very often, a teacher is transferred to a single-teacher 
school by way of punishment. These are highly undesirable 
administrative practices. 

General Conclusions 

It will be seen from the foregoing account that single- 
teacher schools exist in our educational system in very large 
numbers and that they will continue to exist so long as small 
habitations remain. A programme of eliminating the single-teacher 
schools is, therefore, unworkable ; and it would be far better to 
concentrate on an effective programme of improvement of these 
institutions. 

Such improvement can be secured if special techniques required 
for the organization of instruction in single-teacher schools are 
evolved and popularised. The evolution of these techniques needs 
competent and extensive research. Unfortunately, very little research 
has been done in this field in India. The problem, therefore, 
needs high priority and will have to be taken up early by 
the National Council of Educational Research and Training and 
the proposed State Institutes of Education. What is needed is 
conducting experimental single-teacher schools under competent 
research workers with a view to trying out different techniques of 
teaching suited to single-teacher schools. These experimental 
schools may be conducted, either independently or in connection 
with training institutions for elementary teachers. 

For popularising the techniques that would be so discovered, 
special arrangements will have to be made for the training of teachers 
of single-teacher schools. At present, very little emphasis is placed 
in training institutions on these special techniques. It is, however, 
necessary to orientate every elementary school teacher in the 
special methods of instruction suited to single-teacher schools. For 


SINGLE-TEACHER SCHOOLS 


4 1 3 


this purpose, the subject has to be included prominently in the 
curriculum of training institutions. Suitable handbooks and text- 
books in regional languages will have to be prepared for the 
guidance of teacher-educators. 

As has been pointed out, these new techniques necessarily need 
larger classrooms and more equipment and teaching aids and steps 
would have to be taken to provide these to all the single-teacher 
schools. 



CHAPTER 20 


Research in Elementary Education 

Research is one of the most potent tools of reform in education. 
It enables the teachers and administrators to identify and under- 
stand educational problems, to devise appropriate solutions for 
them and to evaluate the effectiveness of different educational 
programmes. The development of research in elementary educa- 
tion is, therefore, badly needed if standards have to be improved. 

Unfortunately, research in elementary education is still in its 
infancy. The reasons are not far to seek. Educational research 
itself is comparatively new in India. Attention to its significance 
was first drawn by the Government Resolution on Educational 
Policy, 1913, and more particularly by the Calcutta University 
Commission, 1 9 1 7- 1 g. Training colleges and university depart- 
ments of education are the main institutions where such research 
can be expected to grow. But training colleges in India began to 
be established only towards the end of the nineteenth century and 
the university departments of education began later still in the 
third decade of the twentieth century. For a number of years, the 
functions of these institutions were mainly restricted to the pre- 
paration of teachers, and degrees in educational research were not 
instituted for a long time. By 1947* only 5 universities had 
instituted degrees in educational research and the total number of 
theses or dissertations approved by them was 153 only. Outside the 
universities and training colleges, a few individuals carried out 
some research work on their own ; but the total volume of this 
research was extremely small, due partly to lack of recognition of 
its significance. "1 he development of educational research in India 
is, therefore, very recent, and the bulk of whatever educational 
research has been done so far is in the post-independence period. 

Within education itself, the problems of elementary education 
have received very little attention because the university depart- 
ments of education and the training colleges have mainly 
concerned themselves with the problems of secondary education. 


RESEARCH IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 415 

There is also a general feeling that the problems of elementary 
education are extremely simple and that they do not need the 
exertions of the best mind or high level research. University 
teachers who have specialised in elementary education and can 
guide research into its problems, are very few. Elementary teachers 
are not intellectually competent to undertake research in pro- 
blems of elementary education, and outside their field, very few 
persons are interested in elementary education as such. For 
instance, an examination of all the researches done in connection 
with Indian University degrees till 1961 shows that, out of 83 theses 
for the Ph.D. degree, only 6 related to elementary education. Out 
of 114 theses for the M.Ed. degree, only 18 related to elementary 
education ; and out of 2744 dissertations for the M.Ed. degree, only 
238 related to elementary education. 

This situation has to be altered very early. Research in the 
different problems of elementary education should be organized. 
Competent persons should be induced to specialise in problems of 
elementary education and special institutions should be established 
for developing educational research in general and that in elemen- 
tary education in particular. This would be a major programme 
of action during the Fourth and the Fifth Five-Year Plans and the 
success of the programme of providing free and compulsory edu- 
cation of a high standard to all the children in the age-group 6-14 
will largely depend upon the extent and quality of the research 
work that can be developed in elementary education during the next 
few years. 

The main object of this chapter is to indicate the broad areas 
and problems of elementary education in which research is urgently 
needed. It is neither possible nor necessary to suggest detailed 
designs for the research projects proposed. 

The Problem of Small Villages or Habitations 

The problem of providing school facilities in small villages or 
habitations where the total population is less than 200 is of great 
importance. It has been suggested that education can be taken to 
these areas only through three programmes: (i) a suitable grouping 
of the villages so as to make it economically possible to establish a 
common school for them ; (ii) peripatetic teachers ; and (Hi) residen- 



ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


RESEARCH IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 


417 


416 

tial schools. The last of these is probably the most effective but the 
costliest of the solutions. Research will, therefore, have to be 
carried out to exploit the possibilities of the first two methods to the 
full. In particular, the experiment of peripatetic schools will have 
to be carefully developed and special methods of teaching which the 
organization of these schools demand will have to be evolved.* 

Problems of Enrolment 

One of the major objectives of a programme of elementary 
education is to enrol every child in the age-group 6-14 into schools. 
Research is, therefore, necessary to find out the main causes of non- 
enrolment and to discover the methods of overcoming them. The 
following research projects are essential in this context: 

(a) Studies of Non-attending Children : It is necessary to find 

out who the non-attending children are, how they are utilizing their 
time at present, the causes that prevent their enrolment in schools 
and the manner in which an educational programme could be 
organized for them, either on a whole-time or part-time basis. For 
this purpose, studies of non-attending children will have to be 
organized in selected areas in all parts of the country. Lists of non- 
attending children will have to be first prepared by moving from 
house to house. For each non-attending child, full data will have 
to be collected regarding his family, social and economic back- 
ground, the nature of work which he does for the family at present 
and the time during which he is engaged in it from day to day. The 
causes of his non-enrolment will have to be examined in detail and, 
in consultation with the parent, a suitable programme will have to 
be drawn up regarding the manner in which the child can be sent to 
school, without greatly upsetting the work he is doing for the family. 
What happens at present is that we offer only a full-time school 
(which functions for five to six hours a day) to all the children and 
ask them to take it or leave it. This mechanical and inelastic 
approach has to be replaced by a sympathetic understanding of the 
economic needs of the family and by a readiness to adjust the work- 
ing hours of the school to the work which a child has to do for his 
family. 

* See Chapter 6. 


(b) Absenteeism : It is not enough to have a child enrolled 

in school. He must also be made to attend regularly and must be 
present in school for about 80 per cent of the days and sessions on 
which the school is open. In actual practice, it is found that the 
attendance of children in elementary schools is very irregular. Un- 
fortunately, no attention has been paid to this problem so far and we 
have little or no data regarding the average number of days on which 
a child attends school in an academic year and the manner in which 
the regularity of his attendance varies from one season to another. 
In order to obtain a clear idea of the problem, it will be necessary 
to organize studies into absenteeism of pupils. Each state may 
select some areas for study of the problem on a random sample basis 
and watch the attendance of each child from day-to-day and the 
variations caused in it at different times of the year. The causes of 
such absenteeism would also have to be studied separately for each 
individual case. These studies will provide enough data on the 
nature of absenteeism and its causes and will also suggest a pro- 
gramme of remedial action. 

In particular, it will often be noticed in rural areas, that the 
absenteeism of children increases considerably when the agricultural 
season is in full swing and the help of the children is required by 
the family. Studies in absenteeism will enable the administration 
to ascertain the nature of the problems and to adjust school vacations 
to the demands of the agricultural seasons.* 

(c) Wastage and Stagnation : It is not enough to enrol a child 

into school and to see that he attends regularly from day to day. 
We have also to see that he progresses regularly from class to class 
and is not withdrawn from school till he completes the compulsory 
age or the elementary course. In other words, we have to eli- 
minate, or reduce to the minimum, the twin evils of wastage and 
stagnation. 

Some research has been done, particularly in Maharashtra, re- 
garding the extent of wastage and stagnation. These preliminary 
studies have clarified the nature of the problem and evolved some 
useful concepts for future research. Rut no such research has 
been done in other parts of India and, in particular, no work has 

* See Chapter 7. 

27 



4lS ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

been done regarding the causes of stagnation and wastage and the 
extent to which each cause operates. 

For this purpose, we have to organize detailed studies of the 
problem in all parts of the country. A fairly large sample of 
students will have to be selected, on a random basis, in each selected 
area and the case of each pupil will have to be studied from the time 
he enters the elementary school to the time when he leaves it or 
completes the elementary course. This case study should show the 
family, social and economic background of the pupil, his attendance 
at school from year to year, his progress in studies and the results 
of his annual promotions, the total time spent in the school, the stage 
of leaving the school, and the causes for each failure as well as for 
premature withdrawal from school, if any. The value of these 
studies will depend mainly on their depth so that the causes of stag- 
nation or wastage will have to be ascertained, after a very careful 
enquiry, with the school teachers, parents and the pupils themselves. 
If such' studies are carried out with fairly large samples — 5 to 10 
thousand pupils in each selected area — a good deal of useful data 
would be available regarding the causes of wastage and stagnation 
and they will enable us to devise a suitable programme of reform. 
Needless to say, these studies will also have to be repeated from time 
to time so that the progress made in the reduction of these evils 
could be watched.* 

(d) Part-time Education : In the economic conditions that 

now prevail in the country, it will not be possible for large numbers 
of children, especially those belonging to the poorer families, to 
attend school on a whole-time basis as they are required to do some 
work in or for the family. This inability becomes more accentuated 
as the children grow older and particularly in the age-group 9 or 10 
to 14. It is, therefore, necessary to provide part-time education for 
such children and to adjust school hours in such a way that it will 
not interfere materially with the work that they do for their family. 
It is estimated that such part-time instruction may have to be pro- 
vided, in the Fourth and the Fifth Plans, to about 25 to 30 per cent 
of the total number of children in the age-group 11-14. 

Very little work on this problem has been done so far. Studies 
are needed for evolving curricula and special methods of teaching 

* See Chapter 8. 


RESEARCH IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 


419 


for part-time education. A good deal of experimental work is also 
necessary to find out the difficulties which these institutions will have 
to face and the manner in which they could be overcome. Orienta- 
tion of teachers in the techniques suited to these institutions is 
another problem that needs investigation. 

(e) Special Groups : Problems (a) to (d) described above are 

particularly relevant in the case of girls and children from the 
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In all such studies, there- 
fore, it will be necessary to make special investigations regar ding 
them.* 

(/) Handicapped Children : The handicapped children form 

a small but significant group whose education is very little deve- 
loped at present. A number of studies are required to make pro- 
gress in this sector. We have little or no data on the size of the 
problem so that sample surveys for ascertaining the proportion of 
handicapped children will have to be conducted in different parts 
of the country. The existing schools for the handicapped children 
are very costly and methods of reducing this cost will have to be 
found. It is possible to educate certain groups of handicapped 
children in the ordinary schools by providing some special equip- 
ment and giving a special orientation to the teachers. This will 
obviate the necessity of increasing the number of special schools and 
reduce costs. Research and experiments will, however, have to be 
done to evolve proper techniques for educating the handicapped 
children in common schools and in orientating the teachers of the 
ordinary schools to use these special methods and techniques. ## 

Teachers 

A number of problems relating to teachers need detailed exam- 
ination. Hardly any studies are available to show the social back- 
grounds from which the elementary teachers come and the common 
motivations which make a person choose teaching in an elementary 
school as a profession. Only a few small-scale studies are available 
to throw light on the economic conditions and academic life of the 
elementary teachers. It is, therefore, necessary to organize fairly 
large-scale random sample studies, in all parts of India, for under- 

* See Chapters 9 and 10. 

See Chapter 11. 



420 


ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 


RESEARCH IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 


421 


standing the social, economic and academic life of the elementary 
school teachers, their motivations, the common difficulties they 
have to face, and the manner in which they can be best assisted to 
lead a better social life and to improve their academic status. 

The selection of teachers for admission to training institutions 
and their recruitment to the profession is another area in which re- 
search is needed and can be very fruitful. At present, the methods 
of selection or recruitment vary largely from state to state. But 
the most common element in the selection or recruitment pro- 
cedures is to take into consideration the marks obtained in 
the last school leaving and/or teacher training examination, and 
also the performance at an interview before a committee which 
generally consists of officials and non-officials. In some cases, 
tests are also held and their results are taken into consideration 
in the final selection. But, by and large, the selection and recruit- 
ment procedures tend to be either too mechanical and related almost 
exclusively to the performance in the school leaving examination or 
too subjective and too largely influenced by an ‘interview’ whose 
character remains far too nebulous. No tests of successful teaching 
competence have been devised or are ever used. A number of 
studies are, therefore, needed in this sector. To begin with, even a 
comparative study of the existing selection or recruitment practices 
would be of great use and, by throwing light on the merits 
and demerits of each practice, would pave the way for their improve- 
ment in the future. Research is also needed for determining the 
qualities that make for successful teaching and for evolving objec- 
tive tests for their measurement. 

Research also needs to be developed in regard to the evaluation 
of the training programmes that we conduct at present and to ascer- 
tain their effectiveness. Most of our tr